Tuesday, August 30, 2011
Dos Passos and Hemingway
I read Hemingway Cutthroat by Michael Atkinson a mystery that takes place during the Spanish Civil War with Hemingway trying to find out who murdered this guy he knew, Jose Robles. John Dos Passos gets him involved. I thought the book was nearly completely made up, but it turns out that the murdered man was real and that he was a friend of both Hemingway and Dos Passos and was one of the reasons that Dos Passos began his turn from the left to his later position as an asshole. In looking up stuff about the book for this post, it turns out that the incident was more or less as it was depicted in the book, I think.
I'm a sucker for mysteries and a sucker for a book(or movie) that drops famous literary names (or movie star names, Errol Flynn was there). Perhaps that's why I liked Woody Allen's most recent movie.
Dos Passos doesn't have the major role in the book, that is of course Hemingway. Hemingway up, Hemingway drink, Hemingway get laid, Hemingway drink some more, Hemingway get drunk, people try to kill Hemingway, Hemingway drink, Hemingway try to get laid again, Hemingway drink some more, Hemingway do some detecting, Hemingway drink.
This is the second novel by this guy with Hemingway as a sleuth trying to find out about the murder of a friend. The first one being Hemingway Deadlights which many of the readers said wasn't as good as the one I read. There is also the thing that Hemingway Deadlights takes place in 1956 while this one is in 1937, so I thought it would be better to read them not in the order they were written, but in the order they theoretically occurred at least.
But, if I didn't say it I recommend Hemingway Cutthroat as a beach book. Something to get one's mind off Weimar as farce this time around. A point in history where things certainly appeared as bleak as they do now.