“Writers should work alone. They should see each other only after their work is done, and not too often then.”
– Ernest Hemingway
“A man works for a fairly simple range of things: money, women, glory; all nice to have but glory’s best, and the best of glory is from his peers, like the soldier who has the good opinion not of man but of other soldiers, who are themselves brave too.”
– William Faulkner
Rovit and Waldhorn start of their book with these quotes, concerning their peers, by two of the best-known American writers of their generation. And that is what this book is all about.
Hemingway and Faulkner in Their Time is a compilation of letters, interviews and comments from other famous writers, for example Scott Fitzgerald, T.S. Eliot, Gertrude Stein etc, talking about either Hemingway or Faulkner and their works with Rovit and Waldhorn providing additional information and context where it is needed.
And it seems every writer had to say something about at least one of these two men, who, while being well aware of each others works, have never actually met in person. And since some of these things are expressed in letters to friends it is a much more honest opinion on either men than one usually gets from official statements and biographies.
While I absolutely loved this book and the whole time I was reading it it just made me want to go back in time and sit around at Gertrude Stein’s flat in Paris with all these brilliant and talented people (a bit like Owen Wilson in Woody Allen’s Midnight in Paris), it is by no means an introduction to the works of Hemingway and Faulkner in any way. You will have to have at least a basic knowledge about their work and the other writers of the so-called “Lost Generation” that are mentioned. If you are like me, however, a huge fan of those ladies and gentlemen anyway this is definitely a book you HAVE to read. Enjoy 🙂