in "Hemingway in Love -- His Own Story"
I do have more than a bit of skepticism about the contents of the book. Much of the material, Hotchner claims, was told to him by Hemingway in 1954 and 1955, about thirty years and more after the fact. More of the conversations took place in 1961 while Hemingway was a patient in the psychiatric ward of St. Mary's Hospital in Rochester, Minnesota, under the care of Mayo Clinic doctors, just days before Hemingway killed himself. Hotchner admits to scant notes existing from these talks, and although some were recorded, the tapes no longer exist. Of these facts, Hotchner writes:
As to the content of the book, these words from Hotchner might describe it best:
"Over the following years, while we traveled, he (Hemingway) relived the agony of that period in Paris when he was writing "The Sun Also Rises" and at the same time enduring the harrowing experience of being in love with two women simultaneously, an experience that would haunt him to his grave."
I first encountered Hemingway's short stories in an anthology of required reading as a high school sophomore. I fell in love with those stories and, later, with the novels. Work for my master's degree centered upon him and naturalism in literature. There was a time when I could accurately claim to have read everything published in book form by or about Hemingway, but I drifted away from words written about him quite some time ago. Whatever .... encountering "Hemingway in Love" made me feel like a curious student again -- at least for a few hours.
Sometimes twists and turns in books seem to bring events into a focus more sharply for some than for others. That is happening here to me. My father died and my former wife No. 2 had surgery in St. Mary's Hospital, where Hemingway was treated twice by Mayo Clinic doctors for depression and suicidal tendencies. Hemingway underwent electroconvulsive (shock) therapy for depression at St. Mary's. I know someone who experienced the same treatment, and I recently completed a pair of books by or about Sylvia Plath, who experienced the same treatment. Random coincidences of life and books intertwining, but they combine to allow me to understand people and their situations better, I think.