Ernest Hemingway persists as an icon of American literature, and what Clancy Sigal so eloquently argues in Hemingway Lives! is that his legacy lives on, his writing remaining as relevant as ever. Sigal's analysis is an intriguing mix of biography and literary criticism that explores Hemingway's political leanings, the accusations of misogyny in his work, his attitudes towards sexuality, and his bluntly efficient prose. Kevin Free performs with a pleasing crispness that enables the listener to become fully engrossed in Sigal's arguments, and his appropriately unobtrusive style foregrounds Hemingway's own remarkable words, helping prove his deserved place in the canon.
With the release of a flurry of feature and TV films about his life and work, and the publication of new books looking at his correspondence, his boat, and even his favorite cocktails, Ernest Hemingway is once again center stage of contemporary culture. Now, in this concise and sparkling account of the life and work of America's most storied writer, Clancy Sigal, himself a National Book Award runner-up, presents a persuasive case for the relevance of Ernest Hemingway to readers and listeners today.
Sigal breaks new ground in celebrating Hemingway's passionate and unapologetic political partisanship, his stunningly concise, no-frills writing style, and an attitude to sex and sexuality much more nuanced than he is traditionally credited with. Simply for the pleasure provided by a consummate story teller, Hemingway is as much a must-read author as ever.
Though Hemingway Lives! will provide plenty that's new for those already familiar with Papa's oeuvre, it assumes no prior knowledge of his work. Those venturing into Hemingway's writing for the first time will find in Sigal an inspirational and erudite guide.
But the reader did seem to struggle with many of the non-American words. Some of the pronunciations were so off target as to be an amusing sub-plot to the story in its own right. That said, I've learnt a lot about the writer's life and the development of his style that so influenced other American and European writers in the 1950s and 1960s. Would I recommend it to others? Yes.