Hemingway’s Havana: A Reflection of the Writer’s Life in Cuba by Robert Wheeler


Cuba, a place beloved of Hemingway has come to life in this intimate and emotional tribute to the writer Ernest Hemingway, who for many years made Cuba his base, a place where he lived for the longest period of his life, a place where he wrote prolifically, much of which was published posthumously.

Respected photographer and writer Robert Wheeler has followed Hemingway’s life from the heady days in Paris to the period of time in his life when he settled down, finding some kind of peace and acceptance in his troubled and colourful life.

Hemingway’s Havana has been carefully segmented commencing with a wonderful and warm Forward by America Fuentes, granddaughter of Hemingway’s long-time friend, Gregorio Fuentes, captain of his fishing boat, Pilar and confidant which tells more than anything else of the love and respect held by Fuente and the Cubans for this ‘man of the sea’.

More than 100 coloured photographs make up this intimate biography of a man who is considered as one of the most influential writers of the modern day with his genteel and fluid use of the English language used to paint an unforgettable picture in words.

Spending much of his life as a war correspondent, Hemingway found his way to Havana in 1934 in his newly purchased fishing boat Pilar, a craft he spent many long and happy hours sailing, a craft which became the inspiration of Pulitzer Prize winning novel The Old man and the Sea. His love of the sea saw him kitting out his boat as he carefully patrolled the waters of the Caribbean during World War II, on the search for German submarines. It also earned him unsought recognition with from the FBI. His third wife, Martha Gellhorn joined him there.

Through the medium of photography the halcyon days of Hemingway’s time have been captured once again, presenting to the world the wonderful allure and charm of a country which has been largely seal off from the world over the past 50 years and more.

Hemingway’s favourite places have been captured with a warm intimacy, each photograph in the main body of the book having a page of script telling a story of times past and present, from the Malecon, a five mile stretch of sea wall that attracted both intrigue and beauty, to his connection with Fidel Castro and Che Guevera, to his final days in Cuba in 1959 and 1960.

 During those last two years he created A Moveable Feast a collection of stories based on notebooks he recovered from a long forgotten trunk stored at the Ritz. He also fine-tuned several other manuscripts released after his death in 1961.

In Hemingway’s Havana, Wheeler has created a wonderful, colourful and warm tribute to a man who saw much, gave much and suffered much in his life: a man who lived life to the fullest, loved robustly and delivered a legacy to the literary world that is yet to be surpassed.

Title:        Hemingway’s Havana: A Reflection of the Writer’s Life in Cuba
Author:    Robert Wheeler
ISBN:        9781510732650
Publisher:  Skyhorse Publishing
Web:      www.newsouthbooks.com.au

Reviewed by Jan Mawdesley from Bluewolf-reviews.com

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