Hemingway's Boat, By Paul Hendrickson


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The Independent Culture

Written from a locked psychiatric ward days before his suicide, Ernest Hemingway's letter to an ailing child displays flashes of one of literature's most distinctive styles: "Saw some good bass leaping in the river."

Utilising his boat as a key to the man, Hendrickson tells Hem's story from charismatic middle years to premature collapse in his Fifties.

More a portrait than a biography, the book is a dazzling, late example of "New Journalism".

Occasionally the language may jar ("I'll whoof this straight out") but the result is touching, revelatory and utterly absorbing.