Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Hemingway's True At First Light - the Third Allotment

I'm still sticking to my plan and now I've knocked off a third chunk of the book. The rains have quit and Mary's lion comes closer to the camp - they even catch sight of it but Mary's unable to get a clear shot. Oddly, Hemingway purposely omits the details of killing marauding baboons - some PC post-editing? - and then later goes on to describe the shooting of same. The escaped Mau Maus have been captured and are no longer a threat. Hemingway visits the shamba where he carries on shamelessly with Debba, his mistress. Much sexual innuendo follows as he describes how Debba caresses his gun. I kid you not. While Mary and GC talk of London, Hemingway tosses off several wonderful paragraphs of Paris in the old days, a nice precursor to A Moveable Feast. Mary awakens sick and can't hunt her lion for the day.

Hemingway retains his magic. Here's a paragraph as proof:
We saw them coming across the new bright green grass of the meadow; the same size, Charo as black as a man could be, wearing his old soiled turban and a blue coat, Mary bright blond in the sun, her green shooting clothe dark against the bright green of the grass. They were talking happily and Charo was carrying Mary's rifle and her big bird book. Together they always looked like a numero from the old Cirque Medrano.

So, done for now. I see no reason to abandon the plan - neither to drop this book entirely to just race ahead to the end and get it finished. But finding paragraphs like the one above makes these short spurts worth it.

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