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Michael Palin's Hemingway Adventure

by Michael Palin, Basil Pao

Buy the book: Michael Palin. Michael Palin's Hemingway Adventure

Release Date: 16 July, 2001

Edition: Paperback


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Buy the book: Michael Palin. Michael Palin's Hemingway Adventure

A fine travelogue, evoking the past and present

I am not a Hemmingway fan - the idea of a macho yet self-destructive soul holds no appeal for me. Likewise, I find his prose turgid and bland, unlike his contemporary, Steinbeck. However, I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Michael Palin brings his charm, understated wit, and consummate travelogue-writing skill to the book, and Basil Pao brings fantastic photography and art direction.

Hemmingway's life and travels provide an overarching theme to the book that brings us from place to place. Since most travelogues use geographical locations to provide the arc, the eclectic globe-trotting in this book is refreshing, while at the same time logical. Likewise, within each chapter we see a variety of locales that won't necessarily make a standard travelogue, because Hemmingway lived in these places and discovered a number of out-of-the-way sites that give a better feel for the actual culture of the cities and countries we're visiting.

I've personally visited four of the places in the book - Montana, Chicago, Key West, and Paris. That I wish to return to those places and experience the parts I missed, as chronicled in the book, is a testament to Palin and Pao's skills. Presumably a fan of Hemmingway would get even more out of this book than I did, but you obviously don't have to be a Hemmingway afficionado to appreciate and enjoy this book.


A must read for the Hemingway

Michael Palin writes one of the ultimate coffee table books for the Hemingway afficionado. When Palin says how he admired Hemingway when he was a boy growing up in Sheffield, England, this introductory homage is itself nearly worth the price of the book. We follow Palin as he travels to and writes about each of the pivotal places and people in Hemingway's life (including Illinois, Michigan, Paris, Spain, Key West, Cuba and Idaho). The passages are accompanied by photographs from Basil Pao, Palin's longtime collaborator

Palin describes what events happened in each place that make it significant to the Hemingway fan, but he also describes how each place is still interesting today: the running of the bulls in Pamplona, for instance, or the Hemingway look alike contest in Key West. In that sense, this is also a great travel book. It's clearly written with admiration for the author, but never cloyingly so. Palin's prose is measured, and he works in some of his celebrated humor. This book would make a great gift for the Hemingway fan in your life.


Nizhniy Novgorod

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