A fine essay on Hemingway by James Salter, a review of the new book by Paul Hendrickson.
NY Review of Books: ... From his father, who loved the natural world, Hemingway learned in childhood to fish and shoot, and a love of these things shaped his life along with a third thing, writing. Almost from the first there is his distinct voice. In his journal of a camping trip he took with a friend when he was sixteen years old, he wrote of trout fishing, “Great fun fighting them in the dark in the deep swift river.” His style was later said to have been influenced by Sherwood Anderson, Gertrude Stein, Ezra Pound, journalism, and the forced economy of transatlantic cables, but he had his own poetic gift and also the intense desire to give to the reader the full and true feeling of what happened, to make the reader feel it had happened to him. He pared things down. He left out all that could be readily understood or taken for granted and the rest he delivered with savage exactness. There is a nervy tension in his writing. The words seem to stand almost in defiance of one another. The powerful early stories that were made of simple declaratives seemed somehow to break through into a new language, a genuine American language that had so far been undiscovered, and with it was a distinct view of the world.
... the sea, Key West, Cuba, all the places, the life he had and gloried in. His commanding personality comes to life again in these pages, his great charm and warmth as well as his egotism and aggression.
“Forgive him anything,” as George Seldes’s wife said in the early days, “he writes like an angel.”