Ernest Hemingway was sometimes a careless housekeeper of his own work. At the age of twenty-two, he famously lost his first novel on a train bound for Lausanne. In 1929, he left a cache of his notebooks at the Ritz; in the 1930s, he left drafts of old manuscripts at his favourite Key West bar. But for a writer as well known as Hemingway, nothing remains lost for long.
A E Hotchner’s Hemingway in Love is a memoir made from vanishing sources: it’s based on the author’s old ‘disintegrated’ tapes, as well as ‘excised portions’ of Hotchner’s Papa Hemingway, a biography part-bowdlerised by lawyers in 1966. Hemingway in Love juicily promises the stuff left out.
The problem is, [1pass]however, that in the half-century since Papa other biographers have not been so finicky about withholding details. Most of what is told in Hotchner’s book – Hemingway in love with two women in 1926 – has been told elsewhere. So the value of this work lies not so much in