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Ernesto: The Untold Story of Hemingway in Revolutionary Cuba

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From the first North American scholar permitted to study at Cuba's Finca Vigia Museum and Research Center, Hemingway's former residence, comes a radically new understanding of Hemingway's life in Cuba.

This is the Hemingway story that has never been told: the full story of Papa as an expatriate in Cuba, an ingenuous American opportunist whose natural openness and curiosity connected with the distinctive warmth of the Cuban character. In Cuba he formed key artistic relationships -- including a longstanding affair with a previously undiscovered Cuban lover, Leopoldina Roderiguez -- and became the Nobel Prize-winning literary legend we know today.

Andrew Feldman uses his unprecedented access to newly available archives to tell the full story of Hemingway's Cubanness: his friendships with Cojimar fishermen, his adoptive Cuban family, the strong influences on his work by Cuban writers, his connections to Cuban political figures and celebrities.

In doing so, Feldman changes our understanding of our most influential literary figure. Far from being a post-success, pre-suicide exile, Hemingway's decades in Cuba were the richest of his life, and came to define the man who would become a legend.

384 pages, Kindle Edition

First published July 11, 2017

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Andrew Feldman

6 books2 followers

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5 stars
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Displaying 1 - 13 of 13 reviews
Profile Image for Gary.
327 reviews196 followers
January 15, 2020
Wonderfully well written and comprehensive of what it was like for Hemingway living in Cuba. Well worth the read!!!
Profile Image for Alison Hardtmann.
1,247 reviews2 followers
May 4, 2021
So this Hemingway guy is kind of a polarizing figure. He's undeniably one of our greatest literary giants who had this kind of larger-than-life image whose writing style still has a significant impact on literature. He was a thin-skinned, petty man who treated his friends and romantic partners abominably and he was obsessed with appearing masculine, to the point of hurting those around him, and factored into his own death.

This book doesn't really stick to its subtitle. Instead, it's a straightforward biography, with a strong emphasis on Hemingway's relationships with women. And it's a history of the Cuban Revolution, with an emphasis on Cuban-American relations and an emphasis on events that would have affected Hemingway, who had a house there. The biography half is told chronologically and is a good basic account of Hemingway's life, with a little added detail around a long-term relationship with a Cuban woman he kept secret. The Cuban history half is a mess. Feldman clearly knows his history well, but was unwilling to omit details that were both outside of Hemingway's story and the interest of most readers. There are a lot of lists of the names of people in the room where meetings happened, lists of names of revolutionaries/functionaries/administrators who were in the room when decisions were made, descriptions of events that made the papers but were not central to the story of the revolution. If Feldman had stuck to a clear timeline with a few colorful stories, he would have had a very good book on his hand.
195 reviews
October 9, 2019
Lots of repetitive information about Ernest. If you have read a lot about him, the first 1/2 of this book is a repeat. Having said that, I did learn a lot about Cuba and the revolution. That was very interesting. The years he lived there were very unsettled and I liked learning about this. I would recommend this book for Hemingway lovers.
328 reviews
August 17, 2021
Well written, but nothing new. Subtitled "the untold story of Hemingway in revolutionary Cuba" most of the book is just a rehash of Hemingway's life before 1953. There's a certain amount of interesting stuff on Castro's relationship with Hemingway, but that's it. Those who know little about "Papa" will enjoy it more.
45 reviews1 follower
April 10, 2021
My opinion and observation. Just plain bad writing.
I don't think this book underwent any critical proofreading or review by someone who could have given constructive feedback or who perhaps, had a better grip on how to present facts. For example, ocean liners do not go into a lower gear. Others obviously have different opinions. It reads like a high school kid that's late for an assignment. I never got past the first chapter. If it was not a Kindle book, it would go straight into the banker's box for donating to the charity thrift store.
Profile Image for Jenny.
1,374 reviews5 followers
April 8, 2020
This book came out last year, several months after I visited Finca Vigia. I was skeptical about reading something billed "the untold story of Hemingway in Cuba," but it's actually thoroughly researched and very well written.
Profile Image for Justin.
84 reviews
May 15, 2020
Fantastic read that made me want to go back to Cuba and see The Floridita and Finca Vigia again. Nice to see the author from a different, a Cuban, perspective.

This book does have a few typographical errors but otherwise thoroughly enjoyable.
Profile Image for Sandi.
1,646 reviews4 followers
October 3, 2019
Can't sayt this book changed my opinion about hi
1 review
March 8, 2020
An enjoyable and readable biography allowed me to experience Cuba and Cuban-American history through Hemingway's eyes. I am a Hemingway buff, but I found out lots of new information about Papa.
1 review
June 29, 2020
Typographical errors are distracting. There are two errors on page 5. Needs better editing. JP
1 review
May 6, 2021
Typographical errors and appears to be written by a child. I've written and read better.
Profile Image for Sunbern.
167 reviews2 followers
August 18, 2020
DNF. I just can’t go any further. I’m a Hemingway buff, and by the reviews was led to believe this was a scholarly factual account of his life in Cuba. However, this is more of a fictional historical novel. How could the author possibly know what happened in the private cabin aboard ship with Pauline and Ernest? How did he know: “A single drop fell from a faucet and splashed into a wash basin—like a period punctuating the silence after the storm.” Really? And while in his Cuban hotel room Ernest peered “out toward the boats as they rowed over the waves & he remembered that he had already seen them—untroubled amidst sharks.” It may be a fine historical novel but not what I was looking for.
Profile Image for Michael Castro.
68 reviews2 followers
July 14, 2020
The untold story of Hemingway in revolutionary Cuba is both beautifully written and well researched. Feldman presents a lot of new and fascinating material about Hemingway with access to newly available archives, after having spent two years conducting research in residence at the Hemingway Museum in Cuba. He also spent time in the old neighborhood talking to residents about their recollections of Hemingway including an interview with America Fuentes the daughter of Gregorio Fuentes.
Displaying 1 - 13 of 13 reviews

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