Michael Palin's Hemingway Adventure

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9780312280468: Michael Palin's Hemingway Adventure
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From Chicago to Key West, Cuba to Kenya, Michael Palin takes us around the world in the footsteps of Ernest Hemingway.

With his signature wit and indomitable style, bestselling author Michael Palin sets out to explore the rich and vivid territory of Hemingway's life. Inspired by the legendary writer's apetite for travel, Palin experiences Hemingway's fondness for the adventure-filled life firsthand, be it bull-running in Pamplona, fishing for marlin in the Gulf Stream, or drinking daiquiris in Havana. Driven by a fascination for discovering new places and for learning more about a remarkable and complex man, Michael Palin's Hemingway Adventure is a unique travelogue and biography of this American hero, whose life and work left an indelible impression on the fast-fading twentieth century.

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Review:

Written while filming his TV series retracing the travels of America's literary titan, Michael Palin's Hemingway Adventure is a masterpiece in its own right. And it's just as eye-delighting in book form, thanks to Basil Pao's wanderlust-arousing photography and vibrant design. The witty, literary Palin, a Monty Python alumnus-turned-professional adventurer, takes us on the journey of a lifetime--Papa's and his own. "Hemingway's world was close and uncomfortable and itchy and sweaty and frequently exhausting," writes Palin. "It was, I felt, the real thing. To experience it would require the ability to absorb a little punishment, it would demand an open mind and a degree of recklessness. But it could and should be done."

Palin visits the restless Hemingway's many residencies, drinks (less excessively) in the same charming Parisian bars, tries boxing and Cuban marlin fishing, but he's really trying to discover what made Hemingway tick--what inspired him to write. In Spain, Palin examines Hemingway's passion for the country and the character of the matador in Hemingway's work while studying with young matador apprentices in a dusty Madrid bullfighting school. In Africa, which inspired and almost killed Hemingway, Palin learns spear throwing from Masai warriors, flies in a small plane around Mount Kilimanjaro, and searches for the site where Hemingway's own plane crash-landed. At the end of the day, drinking Hemingway's preferred beer, brewed still in Nairobi, Palin muses, "Mortality, of one kind or another, always feels close at hand in Africa. Maybe that's why Hemingway liked it, student of death that he was."

Palin begins in Hemingway's Illinois birthplace and ends his journey standing on the spot in Papa's Idaho kitchen where he shot himself, having recently broken down in tears, unable to complete JFK's request for a few simple words commemorating his inauguration. This isn't just a lively travel or TV tie-in book; it's a thoughtful, emotional biography. --Michele Norton

About the Author:

Michael Palin is an actor, comedian, travel writer, and a founding member of the Monty Python team. He has written and acted in dozens of successful performances in addition to writing many books, including Pole to Pale, Full Circle, and Hemingway's Chair. He lives in North London with his wife and three children.

Basil Pao is a professional photographer who has worked with Palin on Full Circle and other projects.

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