I’m reading a novel by an author I’d never read before. Ernest Hemingway.
I don’t know why I’d never read Hemingway. I’m just old enough that my first recollection of him was when he blew his brains out in 1961. I asked what the big deal was, and was told he was a great writer.
So 50 years later, I finally picked up The Sun Also Rises.
I got there by reading another book called The Paris Wife. It’s about Hemingway’s first wife Hadley, and their years together in Paris. It’s billed as a novel, but based on her letters, it seems to blur the line between fiction and non-fiction.
Hemingway wrote The Sun Also Rises while married to Hadley. (As a “parting gift” when their marriage ended, he gave her all the royalties from the book.) Much of the book was written after they attended the bullfights in Pamplona with friends. That wine-soaked trip was the basis for much of the novel.
So I’m having a grand time reading an 85-year-old novel that doesn’t feel its age. As a matter of fact, Hemingway’s bold young matador, Pedro Romero, could end up turning into Antonio Barrera, a matador held together by stitches and surgeries, who is the subject of a lengthy feature in last week’s Sports Illustrated.
I never would have read a feature on a bullfighter if I wasn’t reading The Sun Also Rises, which I never would have read if I hadn’t read The Paris Wife.
One thing really does lead to another.