I just saw this posted and thought I would share. It’s really very interesting. I can’t wait to see the whole film. I’m not sure how they can verify that is in fact Hemingway’s car… but hopefully they can. On a side note, I’m not sure how I feel about this kind of idolatry. At a certain level it’s just an old car, like a lot of others in Cuba. It’s interesting, but really the writing that Hemingway left behind is the important stuff, not necessarily the artifacts that surrounded him in life. Like his boat, his cats, or his whiskey (DOH! that’s a Kenny Cheesy album… never mind about that)
Cool story with internet rabbit hole is below.
I returned last night from Havana and a week filming with acting-singing legend David Soul (most famously Hutch from the 1970s cult TV show Starsky & Hutch).
What a fabulous experience as we followed the trail of Ernest Hemingway’s long-lost 1955 Chrysler New Yorker convertible, the “discovery” of which I reported in my May 6, 2011 blog post: “Hemingway’s Chrysler to be Restored in Cuba”. Back then things looked promising. Various yanks, not least Bill Greffin of the Hemingway Foundation of Oak Park, had promised assistance.
I made several more visits, each time bringing Ada Rosa, of the Museo Hemingway, useful documents such as a CD of the original maintenance manual for the 1955 Chrysler New Yorker. The Chrysler Corporation even offered support.
Then things went south. Killed dead by the U.S. embargo.
Enter stage left David Soul…
David has been a decade-long cubaphile, and the island has held an allure for him since as a boy he became enthralled by Hemingway’s Nobel-prize-winning novel, Old Man and the Sea. On his travels around the isle, David has recorded with the country’s top recording artists, such as Buena Fe and Eliades Ochoa. He also befriended Ada Rosa, who in September 2012 told him of her problem in sourcing replacement parts for Hemingway’s near-derelict Chrysler.
She threw her hands in the air in despair over the paltry U.S. aid filtering through the embargo… and at her urgent need to secure the hard-to-locate parts necessary to restore the car in time for the 14th International Hemingway Colloquium, to be held in Havana, June 20-23, 2013.
Ada Rosa asked for David’s help. “Sure, I’ll do it!” he said, although he knew absolutely nothing about restoring an automobile. Fortunately, as a full-time British resident and British citizen, David could source and send the parts legally. He contacted the U.K. magazine, Practical Classics, who’s editor, Danny Hopkins, got enthused. Hey presto! Financing was soon forthcoming and parts were located and secured.
This year under the Christmas tree I found two books that I’ve been wanting to read for a while, Ninety-two in the Shade and Gallatin Canyon.
Somehow between having two small children, a full time job, starting a small business, and steelheading, I managed to tear through this book in a matter of a day or two during the holidays. Based on my first experience reading McGuane I was expecting slow going. When I first read The Longest Silence I found myself re-reading sentences two and three times and still scratching my head wondering what he was saying, and 92 was similar in that regard but because of its narrative style, I didn’t feel like had to re-read so much. It was obviously written under the influence of quite a few mind altering substances and with that in mind it’s ok to just gloss over parts you don’t understand because part of being under the influence is just moving past things that seem odd or out of place. You just take note of the absurdity and move along, no re-reading required.
The book, to me, is like an updated more psychedelic version of To Have and Have Not. But where Big Papa was content to lay the tragic out in all its sad plainness, McGuane plays up the colorful absurdity of KW in the 70s.
Like any good book there are plenty of take aways and allegories for your own life. There are plenty of characters we can identify from our lives no matter how absurd. There are plenty of vignettes that ring true in our lives no matter how far out.
For a fishing-centric book it’s one that manages to find a great plot, have some serious literary depth but not to a level of pretension that I thought The Longest Silence was slightly guilty of.
92 is a book that finds a nice middle ground between gonzo absurdity that you might expect from a Hunter S.Thompson and the straight-faced dead-pan delivery of Hemingway. It’s fishing details and maritime minutia are given with enough confidence and spread out enough to interest those of us with an angling psychosis but not so much so as to make it painful for those who may not be as angling obsessed.
For anyone who’s been on a flat chasing nervous water, hallucinating in the sun, wondering if those are fishing pushing or just your mind playing tricks on you, pick up a copy of Ninety-Two in the Shade. It’s just like that but magnified in the life or death prismatic kaleidoscope of Key West before it had cruise ships.
I managed to catch the better part of an interesting segment on PBS’s News Hour last night called The Old Man and The Boat: Hemingway’s Quest for Peace about a new Book called Hemingway’s Boat. It’s been officially added to my read soon list, if not moved to the first line of that list. However I have a feeling I will need to wrestle it out of my wife’s hands first, since she is more the Hemingway scholar in the family and far more knowledgable on his work. The author of the new book speaks with such gravitas and bottom-toothy grandeur that it’s almost difficult to take him seriously but I do like his kaleidoscope metaphor at the end of the segment. WOrth a look for those interested in all things Big Papa related.
I’ve been a fan of wooden boats for a while. In fact I own two myself, a 1955 Lyman, and a cedar stip canoe I built myself. Also, my dad has a 1961 Chris Craft Sea Skiff. Maybe the disorder for all things floating and wooden runs in the family. There is just something about wooden boats that gets under your skin. Pilar, Hemingway’s boat is a Matthews I think and I hope, in this new book the author gets into the history of the Matthew’s boat company because I’m sure there is a lot of juicy stuff there. Oddly enough there are usually one or two Matthews boats available for free on the Great Lakes or the East Cast, like this one for instance. All you have to do is find a trailer and haul it home. It’s sad that these objects of such beauty and function who played such a wonderful role in so many people’s lives are left to rot in boneyards like that… maybe this will start a wooden boat revival… I know we need a movie… like “A Matthews Runs Through It”… or maybe “Oh Matthews where art thou?”