Fiction is my fancy, and I do not usually read many biographies because I feel they are boring or leave me feeling that I’ve read something completely inaccurate. However, I recently had the pleasure of reading a well written and rather entertaining biography. Hemingway in Cuba, by Hilary Hemingway and Carlene Brennen, is a biography that would be worth adding to your summer reading list. Whether you’re a fan of Ernest Hemingway, a Sports Fisherman, interested in Cuba’s past, or just love to read about true-life adventure, this book is a pleasurable read.
Hemingway in Cuba was printed in 2005 so it is not a new biography; it has been in stores and Libraries for two years now. The book is filled with old photographs of Ernest Hemingway’s fishing adventures, friends, and places in Cuba he frequently visited. I knew that Ernesto was a Sportsman, but until I read this book, I had no idea that he had such a passion for fishing. The fish tales told here are unlike any I have ever read. Hilary Hemingway, his niece and co-author of this biography, has a wonderful gift of narrative.
I became so wrapped up in the descriptions she gave of her Uncle, that by the time I was half way through the book, an entire evening had passed me by. According to Hilary Hemingway and Carlene Brennen, Ernesto’s life in Cuba was his inspiration for some of his novels. The Old Man and the Sea, To Have and Have Not, and Islands in the Stream are a few of Hemingway’s novels that have characters who are startling similar to Ernest’s Cuban fishing-adventure companions. The authors of this book have done an excellent job of tying excerpts from Ernest Hemingway’s novels to his real-life adventures in Cuba.
After reading Hemingway in Cuba I had a better understanding of why Ernest Hemingway came to call Cuba his home, and what the island was like before the American trade embargo. Hilary Hemingway was able to give intimate details about some of the fishing excursions and conversations that occurred during Ernesto’s life in Cuba. These details were gathered through access to a plethora of information in the form of letters, journals, books and photos left at Ernest’s home in Cuba: Finca Vigia. The Finca Vigia is now a Museum where select scholars and tourists can go to get a better understanding of Ernest Hemingway’s way of life.
I encourage the Adventurers, Big-Game Fisherman, Hemingway Fans, Cuban Americans, or biography buffs to read Hemingway in Cuba. If you don’t enjoy it maybe you’ll walk away with some interesting new images and fish tales in your head. I know that I now have a better understanding of Deep Sea fishing and the adventurous writer who spent so much time enjoying the sport in the waters surrounding the beautiful island.