Ernest Hemingway

  • by Mary V. Dearborn
  • Narrated by Tanya Eby
  • 29 hrs and 39 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

A revelatory look into the life and work of Ernest Hemingway, considered in his time to be the greatest living American novelist and short story writer, winner of the 1953 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction and the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1954.
Mary Dearborn's new biography gives the richest and most nuanced portrait to date of this complex, enigmatically unique American artist, whose same uncontrollable demons that inspired and drove him throughout his life undid him at the end and whose seven novels and six short story collections informed - and are still informing - fiction writing generations after his death.


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

The last of a man's man.

Would you listen to Ernest Hemingway again? Why?

Yes. He interests me as a writer and a person and this book does present a fair amount of information.

What did you like best about this story?

Learning more about the man, the myth and the legend. Shows warts as well as praises.

What does Tanya Eby bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?


Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

Laughed at the funny parts and felt sad as his depression started taking over his life.

Any additional comments?

I am not sure if Mary Dearborn is showing a feminine bias or a historical bias but there are several points in the book I felt that she did not understand the behavior of the American male in that time period when viewing him with her present day eyes. By today's standards Hemingway was a bully and a bore, but in the context of the age he lived in - he was not. His treatment of his wives came off one sided. She comes off as confused as Earnest may have been about his sexuality. His mother was in any age a "whack" job and would have confused anybody. But Mary Dearborn shows great understanding and empathy concerning the battle he had with depression. All in all she has written a good book on the greatest of American writers in the 20th. century.

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- Pat Ryan

There's no one thing that's true. It's all true.

Hemingway's version of "truth" draws a lot from the line in the film "The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance": "When legend becomes fact, print the legend." He was inventing his own mythology before he was even out of his teens, transforming a one-week stint as a Red Cross ambulance driver in World War I into a enlistment in the Italian Army serving in the elite special forces of the Arditi Corps. Another 40+ years of tale-spinning to friends and journalists and the blurred crossover of non-fiction into fiction in many of the short stories and novels complicates the task of all the subsequent biographers.

Mary Dearborn unravels as much as can be currently done using the latest pieces of the puzzle that are gradually being unveiled to us through various studies (e.g. those such as "Ernest Hemingway's a Moveable Feast" that examine the veracity of "A Moveable Feast", the ongoing and continuing Letters project (Volume 4 of 17 to be published as of September 2017) and the recent memoirs and biographies that have focussed on specialized topics and themes e.g. "Hemingway in Love: His Own Story", "Hemingway's Boat: Everything He Loved in Life, and Lost, 1934-1961", "The Ambulance Drivers: Hemingway, Dos Passos, and a Friendship Made and Lost in War", "Unbelievable Happiness and Final Sorrow: The Hemingway-Pfeiffer Marriage", "Writer, Sailor, Soldier, Spy: Ernest Hemingway's Secret Adventures, 1935-1961".

Dearborn does especially draw attention to Hemingway's androgynous hair fetish, the love-hate relationship with youngest son Gregory (Gigi) Hemingway (who later transgendered into Gloria) and the final sad years of mental illness which may have been triggered as early as the concussion injury sustained in a World War II London car crash. Much of what was written post-WWII was never published at the time and some of it only in posthumous heavily edited forms such as the gender bending "The Garden of Eden" (probably too risque for both its late 40's writing time and the author's marketed image) and the various edited versions of the final African journey "True At First Light: A Fictional Memoir" and "Under Kilimanjaro". The ongoing Hemingway Library Edition may yet show us more of those unknowns as well although the story seems to be never-ending. Whatever questions fascinate you about this one person's life can likely never be fully answered and the journey itself becomes the goal. In that I see Hemingway as a stand-in for all humankind. Even with all of this ongoing documentation he is still a mystery and the subject of endless curiousity for us.

I read "Ernest Hemingway" in hardcover by Mary V.. Dearborn in parallel with the audiobook edition narrated by Tanya Eby. The narration was excellent and clear and well-paced.

pg. 428 in the print edition "...the Hitler-Stalin Pact of 1941."
As most with a heritage from the Baltic States or Eastern Europe will know, the Hitler-Stalin Pact actually dates from August 22, 1939.

Great use of a "Crook Factory"/"Operation Friendless"/"Hooligan Navy" image as the cover photo. The second use of this one I believe cf. "The Crook Factory" by Dan Simmons.
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- Alan

Book Details

  • Release Date: 05-16-2017
  • Publisher: HighBridge, a Division of Recorded Books