From the first North American scholar permitted to study at Cuba’s Finca Vigia Museum and Research Center, Hemingway’s former residence, comes a radically new understanding of Hemingway’s life in Cuba.
This is the Hemingway story that has never been told: the full story of Papa as an expatriate in Cuba, an ingenuous American opportunist whose natural openness and curiosity connected with the distinctive warmth of the Cuban character. In Cuba he formed key artistic relationships—including a longstanding affair with a previously undiscovered Cuban lover, Leopoldina Roderiguez—and became the Nobel Prize-winning literary legend we know today.
Andrew Feldman uses his unprecedented access to newly available archives to tell the full story of Hemingway’s Cubanness: his friendships with Cojimar fishermen, his adoptive Cuban family, the strong influences on his work by Cuban writers, his connections to Cuban political figures and celebrities.
In doing so, Feldman changes our understanding of our most influential literary figure. Far from being a post-success, pre-suicide exile, Hemingway’s decades in Cuba were the richest of his life, and came to define the man who would become a legend.
“Who in my generation was not moved by Hemingway the writer and fascinated by Hemingway the maker of his own legend? ‘Veteran out of the wars before he was twenty,’ as Archibald MacLeish described him. ‘Famous at twenty-five; thirty a master.’ Wine-stained moods in the sidewalk cafés and roistering nights in Left Bank boîtes.Walking home alone in the rain. Talk of death, and scenes of it, in the Spanish sun. Treks and trophies in Tanganyika’s green hills. Duck-shooting in the Venetian marshes. Fighting in, and writing about, two world wars. Loving and drinking and fishing out of Key West and Havana. Swaggering into Toots Shor’s or posturing in Life magazine or talking a verbless sort of Choctaw for the notebooks of Lillian Ross and the pages of the New Yorker.” —Robert Manning