It’s Hemingway so it’s a 10/10. It would have been so exciting to have gone fishing with Hemingway and crew, off Cuba, for over two months. His writing was so clear and his adventures so inspiring.
A previously unpublished short story by Ernest Hemingway just appeared in The New Yorker and I'm freaking out.
It's an obvious companion to The Old Man and the Sea, classic-classic Hemingway, and a weird kind of double-ghost; This time, Hemingway himself is a named character in the story.
One day I'll have an opinion on this story. It's either incredible or horrible. No matter, it was one of the most pleasurable reading experiences of my life. I don't expect you to believe me (for real, you shouldn't) because I say that all the time. But reading is a profoundly in-the-moment kind of thing, and when it's happening -- the magic, the really big magic -- and you're just like 'mother of God, I can't believe this is happening right now,' there's no reason to deny it, just as there's no reason not to stick with saying what you're thinking. Here's what I was thinking: that I might never read something so on-the-nose, so topical, so written for me. It doesn't just touch on every aspect of my life, it wraps itself around it all and squeezes: NSL, police brutality, an uncanny, inexplicable, out-of-left-field queer violence at a bar, writing in the morning, before getting to "work," the impossibly-complicated definition of work itself, the giving away of free fish, and, lastly, this whole issue of putting yourself in your own story, of creating a pseudo-self and placing it in a world that's so close to real it's almost more accurate than your average actual day or non-fiction story. Oh, also: I'm in Key West, Florida right now. So, yeah, brain-exploding.
It's all about the title. I often feel like I'm in a constant state of mad pursuit, trying to get to something, anything, that justifies the absurdity of the chase. I think I know why Hemingway didn't publish. Too personal, too many metaphors. And, ultimately, The Old Man and the Sea accomplishes something deeper and more meaningful than "Pursuit as Happiness": pursuit as purpose.
I tell myself: Remember, Hemingway killed himself with a shotgun to the head. If there's any anchor here, it's that Hemingway isn't an authority on finding happiness. Grandiosity notwithstanding, the guy was miserable. And I bet that writing like this ("Look how happy I am!") made him even more miserable. Then again, maybe not. Maybe unpublishable stuff like this brought him solace. If only we knew. That's the biggest problem with fiction. It's fake. But it's also more real than anything else. And still fake.