Hemingway's Boat

  • by Paul Hendrickson
  • Narrated by Jonathan Davis
  • 22 hrs and 5 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

An award-winning historian and author, Paul Hendrickson here turns his attention to one of America’s most cherished literary icons, Ernest Hemingway. Drawing on previously unpublished material, Hendrickson focuses on Hemingway’s life in its twilight, just prior to his suicide, and the seemingly singular constant in the man’s life: his boat, Pilar. On this vessel, Hemingway would entertain and travel, but it would also be the scene of some of his greatest tragedies.

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What the Critics Say

“A lyrical and expansive search for the essence of a famous writer—heart, soul, and hull.” (Julia Keller, Chicago Tribune Top Picks of 2011)
“The author, an accomplished storyteller, interprets myriad tiny details of Ernest Hemingway’s life, and through them says something new about a writer everyone thinks they know.” (The Economist Books of the Year 2011)
“Hendrickson’s engrossing book offers a fresh slant on the rise and fall of a father figure of American literature.” (San Francisco Chronicle Best Books of 2011)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

He manges to make Hemmingway boring

Is there anything you would change about this book?

Book would be best read abridged. He fell in love with every fact he found and filled the pages with them. He needed a good editor to prune it back.


Would you be willing to try another book from Paul Hendrickson? Why or why not?

Not at this point.


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

A fine reader, stuck with a too-long book.


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- Sonoma

A Hemingway biography for the 21st Century

Would you listen to Hemingway's Boat again? Why?

No. So many books. So little time.


What other book might you compare Hemingway's Boat to and why?

I don't know of a good comparison because it is such a novel contemporary approach. A lot has been written about EH and his story is well documented in many books. Hendrickson's approach is different and fresh. The most moving parts of Hemingway's Boat are those that focus not on EH, the ostensible subject, but on three rather unknown men and on how their lives were impacted, for better and for worse, by their association with the great writer.


What about Jonathan Davis’s performance did you like?

Magnificent. Davis' pace is deliberate. Slower than most. It is crystal clear. I found it nuanced and not flat. A five star performance. I will look for other books performed by Davis.


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

It neither made me laugh out loud or cry. It is a very sad story, especially the penultimate chapter about Hemingway's son Gigi.


Any additional comments?

This is a biography of a deeply flawed man who was a great artist. EH lived an outsized macho life and was the kind of man that the "air guitarists" relish in taking down. His current literary reputation is still not fully recovered. He was a wonderful writer whose best work (and there is a lot of it) is among the very best that an American writer has ever produced. The blurbs suggest that this is a more sympathetic biography. I didn't find it particularly sympathetic. Nor did I find EH particularly likeable. I had intended to read only a portion of this book about Cuba and fishing in the 1930s. It is so well written and performed that I ended up listening to, reading and enjoying the entire book. Highly recommended.

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- George "Mountainbiker, Skier, Riverman, Dzedo, Pizzaiolo"

Book Details

  • Release Date: 11-03-2011
  • Publisher: Recorded Books