AUTUMN IN VENICE is a must-have for Hemingway fans everywhere. You need this non-fiction account of Ernest Hemingway and his last muse to complete your library.
I’ve read pretty extensively about Hemingway. I can’t say I even like the guy but, I am drawn to his life like a moth to the flame. So when I discovered this book had information I did not know, I knew I had to have it.
Years ago I read a book called A VENETIAN AFFAIR by Andrea di Robilant. I loved it. So I knew the author is a really good one.
I’ve found that more is written about Hemingway’s first two wives. I didn’t know much about Mary at all. Mary was Hemingway’s fourth and last wife. Theirs was not a very happy marriage. But this trip to Venice about tore the roof off what was left of it.
In 1948 Hemingway and Mary decided to visit Venice. Their marriage was not so happy and they thought they could jump-start it in this fabulously romantic city. Not so much. It wasn’t long before Hemingway became enchanted and then infatuated with an 18-year-old girl thirty years his junior. He was almost fifty at the time.
The author got a lot of his information from Adriana’s journals and Hemingway’s letters. Plus, it seems di Robilant’s uncle was included in Hemingway’s inner circle back in the day. Reports were given of Hemingway drooling unashamedly over this young girl. Mary tolerated the fawning at the time because the relationship continued to be platonic. It made Hemingway happy and lifted him from depression. But the quarreling between husband and wife became vicious. This was not going to be the getting back together trip they had hoped it would be.
Adriana and her family were encouraged to visit Mary and Ernest in their home in Cuba. Oh boy. I can’t even imagine. Adriana became Hemingway’s muse while he was writing ACROSS THE RIVER AND INTO THE TREES, a book about an older man and a young woman. Adriana was also the muse for THE OLD MAN AND THE SEA.
I found myself leafing through copies of several of Hemingway’s novels while reading AUTUMN IN VENICE. So much of his real-life was embedded in his fiction. I felt like I was getting a chance to peek into this very famous man’s world.
Much of this book takes place in Cuba. And I will sound a warning. This is not a book about Venice. So those of you who might pick this book up because it appears to be all about Venice, well, it’s not.
We know that Ernest Hemingway was a very troubled soul. He took his own life. And he so disrupted Adriana’s life that she eventually took her own life as well. Sad endings for both.
We are currently sold out at Copperfish Books, however, we are getting more in by the end of this week. On sale for 20% off. Come and get em.
My beautiful finished hardcopy was provided by Knopf in exchange for an honest review. I loved it. It’s not a novel. It’s all documented. I am going to be bringing it to my lectures this coming season and will enjoy discussing it. Thanks go out to the generous publishing publishing people at Knopf. Cheers!