a vacuum occupied by myth

Deciphering Ernest Hemingway, er, with a twist

The letters show the moment by moment process of self-enlargement, of fiction taking over from reality, of Hemingway braiding himself a style first and then a history to match it. If his family mistook so much of what he wrote for experience, that’s because he set it up that way, signing himself ‘Old Master’ when he was barely 18.

He made the fiction true, including the fiction of himself, and then struggled to keep up with it.