Friday, October 16, 2009

The Young Man and the Lakes

During one of my Internet prowls, I found myself on John Miller's personal web site where I came across this link to an article of his at the Wall Street Journal about Ernest Hemingway. Published over a year ago, I can't believe I hadn't run across it before and posted something here about it. Well, I'll take care of that now:
When Ernest Hemingway was a young writer in the 1920s, he pinned a map of northern Michigan to the wall of his room in Paris. It probably came in handy as he wrote his first batch of short stories. Although he was born and raised in Oak Park, Ill., Hemingway spent the summers of his boyhood in the woods and lakes of what Michiganders call "Up North." They provide the settings for most of his early tales.

One of these yarns, however, has traditionally puzzled anyone who reads it and then checks a map. "Big Two-Hearted River" is probably Hemingway's first great contribution to literature, an example of nature writing at its finest and perhaps America's best fishing story, especially for readers who remember that Moby Dick didn't have gills.

I'll insist the story isn't just for rabid Hemingway fans like me but I'll also concede that not too terribly much happens throughout the story. Well, nothing other than the actions of a young man trying to get himself right again with his world. Treat yourself and read the story. I know you're busy but it won't take too much of your time. You'll come away richly rewarded.

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