Friday, September 22, 2017

My Washington Times Review Of 'The Short Stories of Ernest Hemingway, The Hemingway Library Edition'

The Washington Times published my review of The Short Stories of Ernest Hemingway, The Hemingway Library Edition.

I’ve been an Ernest Hemingway aficionado since I was a teenager and read all of his novels, but it was not until a few years later that I discovered his short stories, which were even more powerful than his great novels.

In the mid-1970s I was in my early 20s and serving on a U.S. Navy tugboat at the nuclear submarine base at Holy Loch, Scotland when I came across several paperback collections of his short stories in a Glasgow book store. Like his novels, the interesting and insightful stories were about crime, hunting, fishing, boxing, bull-fighting, rugged individualism, grace under pressure, and love and war. To use a simile that Hemingway, a boxing aficionado, might approve of, his short stories deliver like a right cross.

… This collection, edited by Hemingway’s grandson, Sean Hemingway, with a foreword by Hemingway’s son Patrick, is the fourth in a series of annotated editions of his work. The book offers some of his best known stories, such as “The Killers,” “Fifty Grand,” and “The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber” (three of my favorites), as well as a few unpublished stories and his early drafts and notes.

“Ernest Hemingway is widely recognized as one of the greatest writers of the 20th century. His writing, with its powerful, understated prose and economy of words, has influenced countless writers,” Sean Hemingway writes in his introduction to the collection. “More than any other writer of his time, Hemingway changed the course of literature and furthered the written expression of the human condition. His novels, such as ‘The Sun Also Rises,’ ‘A Farewell to Arms’ and ‘For Whom the Bell Tolls,’ have entered into the canon of world literature, but it is arguably his contributions to the art of the short story that are his greatest literary achievement.”

… In the book is an early draft of “Fifty Grand.” The story has a beginning that Hemingway removed prior to publication based on a recommendation from fellow novelist and friend, F. Scott Fitzgerald. Hemingway later regretted the cut.

“Up at the gym over the Garden one-time somebody says to Jack, “Say, Jack, how did you happen to beat Leonard anyway?” and Jack says, “Well, you see Benny’s an awful smart boxer. All the time he’s in there he’s thinking and all the time he’s thinking I was hitting him.”

You can read the rest of the review via the below link:


  1. Hi, just read your review there, wanting to Purchase a collection and seeing this 'brandy' spanking new edition. Thanks for writing it.

  2. Jem,

    I hope you enjoy the collection. I did.