Form and Content

(Critical Edition of Young Adult Fiction)

A. E. Hotchner’s Papa Hemingway: A Personal Memoir begins in 1948, with Hotchner’s initial meeting with Ernest Hemingway during an interview in Havana, Cuba, while Hotchner was employed by Cosmopolitan magazine. Like others who followed Hemingway’s career, Hotchner admits to being afflicted with “Hemingway Awe.” As a teenager, Hotchner identified with Nick Adams, the Hemingway protagonist who comes of age in stories such as “Indian Camp,” “The Battler,” and “The Three Day Blow.” While serving as an officer in the military during World War II, the author continued to be awed by Hemingway’s exploits as a war correspondent. Hemingway’s reputation had become mythic, and Hotchner, a young man in his mid-twenties, found it extremely difficult to approach him. Hemingway agreed to be interviewed, however, and soon became Hotchner’s mentor and friend.

Each chapter in this biography is focused on a year and place, with the significant events in the latter part of Hemingway’s life described. Hotchner’s experiences with Hemingway read like a travelogue of adventure. They fished off the coast of Cuba, ran with the bulls in Pamplona, Spain, gambled on racehorses in France, and hunted game in the Idaho wilds.

In Havana, Hotchner accompanied Hemingway on Pilar, a vessel used for deep-sea fishing. Because it was Hotchner’s first deep-sea fishing experience, he was apprehensive but soon learned that...

(The entire section is 539 words.)