Tuesday, December 6, 2011

The Big, Fat Blowhard

"Hemingway's Boat, Everything He Loved in Life, and Lost 1934 - 1961" by Paul Hendricson Alfred A. Knopf 531 pages $40

Disclaimer: I have never been a Hemingway fan, am not one now and am unlikely to change my opinion of him (stated in my title above) in the foreseeable future.

The only reason I picked it up at the library is that the Sunday LA Times listed it among the top 10 non-fiction books of the week.

The author uses the boat as a device to show another side of Hemingway. By now, Hemingway has been turned in so many circles to "see another side of him" - genius or madman? that he's as round as a pole. His African safaris, his love of bull fighting, his pugilistic ways, rudeness, four wives, bipolarity, alcoholism, suicide... there seems to be very little that we don't already know.

But this came as quite a surprie to me. Hemingway and his second wife, Pauline, had two sons. The younger was named Gregory, but nicknamed "GiGi." Time magaine in their obituary for him listed him as "Gloria Hemingway" because at the time of his death, age 69, he had undergone sex change surgery!

Despite considering this surgery as early as 1973, he didn't actually go through with it until 1995. This was after four marriages and divorces and eight children!

He died of a massive and sudden stroke in the Miami-Dade Women's Detention Center, where he was being held on charges of indecent exposure. It was said that he was trying to pull on a pair of too-tight women's panties, collapsed and died, then and there.

No comments: