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10 thoughts on “Green Hills of Africa

  1. says:

    The machismo is thick and pungent in Green Hills of Africa Hemingway's autobiographical account of a hunting trip in Africa At times it felt like the verbalization of thisIt is one part self glorifying portrayal of a man's man and one part vilification of the same man for the same reason If alpha dog Hemingway had lived into his 80s he would've lived into the 1980s and if he had I feel certain he would've been a contestant on American Gladiators Afterwards he would've admitted he was acting like a damn fool That's just how he was ALL MAN GRRR But too introspective to believe his own bullshit Aside from that there are some interesting details on big game hunting African tribesmen and guides and the occasional difficulty or ease of language exchange When not hunting Hemingway talks books and writers with the few intellectuals he brought with him on the trip or came across along the way We hear his opinion on the uality of the writer's of his day and just prior Readers of A Movable Feast or those who know his personal history will catch the thinly veiled criticism of his once mentor Gertrude Stein Green Hills of Africa has lyrical turns and can be engrossing especially if you have read some of his previous work An interest in hunting might help too But of all his output I could not suggest reading this first as it is not Hemingway as in Have you read Hemingway? This is like a supplement for his fans who want to learn about the man andor the myth


  2. says:

    Where a man feels at home outside of where he's born is where he's meant to go Ernest HemingwayOnce when I was 11 or 12 I begged my father to take me Mule deer hunting in Utah Growing up in the West among a certain strata of boy the October deer hunt was a sort of blood ritual We would take off from school for a couple days go into the mountains with our fathers shoot at things and come home At this time in my life I had tremendous blood lust I wanted to bring something down To be at the top of the pyramid for a second To conuer something I wasn't at the stage where I could explore where these impulses came from The desire to carry and shoot The desire to kill and show off my trophy It really was a deep thing I think as a child I can best explain it as some way of coming to grips with the discovery that you are no longer the center of the Universe You have recently discovered you aren't a god So you act like a god You seek to become Shiva the destroyer the killer of groundhogs of robins the boy who pulls the stinger out of bees in the window Lucky for me I discovered much later in life that my father a veterinarian used to steer me away from the deer He was happy to hike camp and shoot with me He understood better than I the stage I was in Perhaps at 11 or 12 disappointment with not finding something to kill might serve me better than blood Even now as I've grown as I read Hemingway's 'Green Hills of Africa' and I feel all of those early impulses again After finishing this story I did a Google search to see how much a Safari in South Africa and Zimbabwe costs now days I know this is absurd It is one of those things I mock and despise among the rich Photos of the Trump boys displaying their trophies or the owner of Jimmy Johns standing under an Elephant he has recently killed makes me both angry and sad at the same time But I STILL emotionally deep down find myself thinking about Hemingway and Roosevelt Thinking about the big tests the pursuit the hunt the blood It sickens and attracts It is visceral I really think C G Poore captured it perfectly when he said this story was about people in unacknowledged conflict and about the pleasures of travel and the pleasures of drinking and war and peace and writing


  3. says:

    The subject of the pursuit is the elusive kudu an animal you must hunt alone like writers must write aloneIn Hemingway’s experimental work the Green Hills of Africa he produces possibly one of the earliest works of creative nonfiction reveals how the search for good land parallels a writer’s search for good material and most of all reveals himself—warts and all “Fitting in” being recognized as an aficionado or knowing how to be an insider rather than a tourist surfaces as a dominant theme in Hemingway’s fiction and non fiction Hemingway prides himself on knowing how to handle his liuor how to appreciate bullfighting how to fish and hunt and most importantly how to become accepted in any country he visits Hemingway’s self image however may be at odds with reality In Africa for example the paid trackers that accompany Hemingway on his safari may or may not respect him Further whether Hemingway achieves insider status is moot since his view of Africa remains hopelessly distorted due to his position of privilege and his cultural baggage In The Green Hills of Africa Hemingway’s project to write an “absolutely true book” tends to deconstruct Often Hemingway achieves truth in ways he may not have intended and fails to achieve truth in ways he may not have foreseenThroughout his book Hemingway uses Africa as a hunting resource as an extended metaphor and as material for his next book Despite Hemingway’s goal to present an “absolutely true book” his rearrangement of events and extensive use of metaphor lend a fictional resonance to his purported non fiction The landscape or “shape of a country” operates on several levels in Green Hills During Hemingway and Kandisky’s literary discussion a metaphor is set up that extends throughout the book Hemingway makes an implicit comparison between hunting and writing The writer’s material becomes the landscape while his subject is the uest or “pursuit” itself In Green Hills the subject of the pursuit is the elusive kudu an animal you must hunt alone like writers must write alone or else—contaminated by their contact with other writers—they all will become “angleworms in a bottle trying to derive knowledge and nourishment from their own contact and from the bottle” 21 In addition to the criteria Hemingway cites to become a great writer namely talent discipline sincerity intelligence detachment and time 27 it becomes apparent that the writer’s material metaphorically the landscape is also essential for success Writers who do not experience life honestly and empirically will not have the material to be great but will instead present their “knowledge wrapped in the rhetoric like plums in a pudding” 20 or write second hand dead prose Kandisky a watcher exemplifies the sort of sterile second hand lifestyle Hemingway views as unproductive Commenting on their conversation Kandisky remarks “This is what I enjoy This is the best part of life The life of the mind This is not killing kudu” 19 What Kandisky omits in his version of the good life is the process of pursuit In Green Hills Hemingway’s uest for suitable terrain dramatizes the writer’s creative process His search for good land—the material—consumes much of the book’s action Not surprisingly the kudu embodies the writer’s aim a goal Kandisky a non writer non hunter non taker of risks can no understand than the pursuit of the kudu Kandisky in fact skeptically interrogates Hemingway’s motivation in both pursuits as hunter and as writerBy setting up this comparison between writing and hunting material and land early in the book the narrative takes on the resonance of allegory a literary device again crossing the boundaries of Hemingway’s ostensibly non fictional project As allegory all the descriptions of landscape and pursuit may be read in terms of the writer’s craft and vice versa The repeated literary discussions and comments throughout the book—seemingly digressive non seuiturs—reinforce this parallel construction; they are all as much about hunting as writingHemingway thus imbues the African landscape with value there is good land and bad land In keeping with the patterns Carlos Baker has noted the low lands are bad while the highlands hills are good Conseuently Hemingway experiences mostly frustration and disappointment on the Serengeti plains and the Rift Valley Both areas emerge as wastelands Clearly these barren lands are as incapable of generating superior game as poor material is of generating superior prose Predictably the kudu are found in the lush highlands a land that emerges unexpectedly and wonderfully at the edge of the plain Under scrutiny however Hemingway’s allegorized landscape of good landbad land good materialbad material deteriorates Even with talent or good land or good material corruption lurks at the fringes Similarly the writer’s ability to truly represent reality—Hemingway’s standard for writing excellence—faces constant erosion due to the pressures of time as well as the exploitative forces of civilizationIn the metafictional world of Green Hills then what Hemingway sees happening to the land relates back directly to what he sees happening to writers The land itself—particularly good land—will ultimately fall prey to corruption and exploitation Throughout the book Hemingway refers to Tanganyika’s similarities to familiar landscapes such as that of Michigan Wyoming Spain France and so forth to universalize his experience Tanganyika becomes synecdochical for the physical world as well as the textual world of the writer Accordingly Hemingway looks at Africa through the optics of his homelands weaving several countries into the East African terrain until Tanganyika serves as geographical microcosm Hemingway’s nostalgic references to other civilizations serve to reinforce the idea that the old frontiers—American Spain France etc—have been exploited only isolated pockets of wilderness remain and that even the relatively “virgin” terrain of East Africa demonstrates signs of infiltration Interestingly Hemingway does not comment on how his own big game hunting contributes to this exploitationEast Africa though is like a young talented writer fertile valuable and only showing faint traces of corruption Hemingway can still find in the Masai’s terrain “a virgin country an un hunted pocket in the million miles of bloody Africa” 218 The Masai who live in this Eden are appropriately young and healthy Conversely association with civilization has already begun to mar the other areas of East Africa The two trackers that lead him to the idyllic Masai are as Hemingway depicts them a “disreputable” old man and his younger companion a “skinny dirty Waterboo” 207 Hemingway’s inability to recognize himself as the “other” in Africa as someone who stands out rather than blending into the landscape blinds him to his role in marring Africa’s virginity Instead Hemingway continues his “use” of Africa as both a big game resource and as a metaphor for writing Even with the best land and best material Hemingway posits the hunterwriter may still fail In Hemingway’s view a writer who “cheats” can only turn out a corrupt product In similar terms a hunter who does not shoot cleanly will leave an animal “gut shot” to die uncleanly and horribly The hyena represents the dirty death of integrity and talent Ultimately there is only death dirty or clean Whether by the forces of time or corruption the hunter andor writer’s talents will erode As Hemingway’s text suggests to write well the author must experience the world and then be able to translate it Hemingway provides us with an example He takes the experience of his two month safari and omits re arranges and condenses the action In his reconstruction of events the narrative begins near the end and then flashes back into the time just after Hemingway’s return from the hospital in Nairobi The third section continues the action begun in section one and the final section covers the last two days of the safari as well as a brief section a month later in Haifa where they reminisce about the trip Hemingway’s manipulation of time serves a number of purposes In his narrative unraveling time folds back upon itself to form a circle The “end” of the story—the final three days of the safari—receives double emphasis by its placement at the end and beginning of the book Of the book’s nearly three hundred pages over half are devoted to the last three days of the safari Hemingway’s refusal to present events chronologically is analogous to Roman Ingarden’s assertion that once read a book “exists simultaneously” and nothing is really later or earlier in a “temporal sense”Our memory of real time operates similarly Once experienced an event exists in our consciousness in no particular order and we may order the action and magnify it as we see fit That Hemingway’s manipulation of time and action takes place in an autobiography—a form of non fiction—rather than in a novel highlights the artifice of chronological so called “realistic” fiction Allegory implicitly used through Green Hills similarly fragments and spatializes time As explained by Paul de Man allegory exposes the slippage between sign and signifier rather than presuming the innate connection between sign and signifier symbolism implies There is for example no logical or innate reason for Hemingway to overlay the process of hunting onto the process of writing except as the arbitrary—but artistic—conflation of events in his mindHemingway’s separation of good landbad land also leads to manipulation of time and action Recognizing the redemptive powers of language Hemingway hastens his narration of time spent in the dried up plains but shifts into narrative slow motion when they are in the highlands The cluster of associations that Hemingway uses to instill an “emotional atmosphere” into the landscape describes the “fourth dimension” of writing he refers in his earlier literary conversation with Kandisky The good lands the highlands contain the good animals kudu sable and good people Masai Hemingway’s oft discussed “fifth dimension” involves another step The earth contrary to the passage from Ecclesiastes Hemingway uotes in The Sun Also Rises may abide forever but not as it was Crumbling and eroding under the effects of time and exploitation the earth moves toward entropy The hyena may ravage the beauty of the kudu; ego may dissolve the talent of writers; and though it is not mentioned people very much like Hemingway may destroy Africa’s virgin splendor Nothing lasts; all things lose their innocence However if done perfectly writing may preserve an experience a landscape—as it was—forever Against the corrosive effects of time a “perfect” representation of reality—the emotions the sensations not just the facts—may allow someone to experience what we experienced over and over again the fifth dimension Although he does not use that term in the beginning of Death in the Afternoon Hemingway writes what is perhaps his clearest articulation of the fifth dimension it is the real thing the seuence of motion and fact which made the emotion and which would be as valid in a year or in ten years or with luck and if you stated it purely enough always” 2 When Hemingway states then that he will try to present the facts of the safari truly he does not mean that there will be no artistic intervention Clearly a true representation can only occur with mediation with the devices we generally associate with fiction Hemingway’s assertion that none of the characters in the book is “imaginary” also warrants ualification In Green Hills Hemingway dominates the textual horizon; the other characters thinly drawn emerge as shadows in comparison In contrast to the way he has represented Africa’s landscape enhanced by full fictional apparatus Hemingway’s representation of himself seems inescapably concrete; he juts into the narrative line often acting un heroically but always complex multivalent Hemingway’s centeredness his omnipresence parallels the way we see ourselves In this sense then the tendency for the Hemingway persona to remain center stage is a form of realism; we all enact this myth Hemingway merely underscores it Like the landscape and the events of the safari that Hemingway so carefully shapes and crafts his own persona in order to appear “real” has undergone considerable construction The construction of an autobiographical subject to use Paul de Man’s terms is always a process of “blindness and insight” An autobiographer looking at his life like a critic surveying a literary work can only see parts of it and selects from these parts the moments that will comprise his or her autobiography But what of Hemingway’s project to present characters—including himself—truly? If autobiography involves omission selection reconstruction and finally our erasure by writing itself the ability to create a “true” representation becomes impossible True representation seen as an attempt to mirror reality can be only a nostalgic dream Certainly the overtly fictional techniues in Green Hills do not reflect an attempt to make reality eual imitation Instead Hemingway would probably concur with Virginia Woolf’s reputed remark “Art is not a copy of the real world One the damn things is enough”In the sense that Green Hills is a representation that totalizes or expresses everything in Hemingway’s safari it is a failure No one representation can ever be adeuate At best the book is a fragment of how Hemingway remembered his experience further distanced by the alienating powers of language Hemingway then uses the word true to mean an artistic rather than merely factual representation Further the Africa Hemingway constructs is blurred by the optics of privilege Hemingway’s Africa would bear little resemblance to the Africa experienced by its own people Consciously or unconsciously Hemingway uses Africa Throughout Green Hills Africa is romanticized allegorized reduced to metaphor and plundered While Hemingway does construct a work of art the truth of Green Hills on any level remains uestionable For all his efforts to present himself as an insider as someone who understood Africa Hemingway remains an outsider Hemingway at one point in the book expresses his distaste for “safari books” written with a “bwana mentality” Yet for all its artistry Hemingway’s position as a tourist and the book’s biased construction of Africa may relegate Green Hills to being just another safari book though one better written than most


  4. says:

    This is non fiction It is about a big game hunting safari taken by Ernest Hemingway and his second wife Pauline Marie Pfeiffer in December 1933 They traveled to East Africa Aided by native trackers they hunted buffalo rhinoceros kudu and sable antelope These were the big attractions of the hunt More important still was who of the hunters would achieve the biggest kill In my eyes the competition between the men was extremely childish the hunt itself gruesome and revolting The book is composed of four parts Pursuit and Conversation Pursuit Remembered Pursuit and Failure and Pursuit as HappinessIn the first and second parts Hemingway expresses his personal views on a number of American and European authors He refers to Mark Twain Stephen Crane Sinclair Lewis James Joyce Rainer Maria Rilke Leo Tolstoy Gustave Flaubert and Fyodor Dostoevsky for example He speaks of which of their works HE admires most but there is not deep analysis of any of the writers This did add a speck of interest but I do not see why it is found here in this book on African huntingThe second part has a flashback to earlier hunting in the Rift Valley of Tanzania The third part—look at its title “Pursuit and Failure” It is full of grumbling complaining and whining Men behaving as small boysThe fourth part gets a bit better The “little boy”s became less sour when they manage to kill animals Hemingway waxes lyrical when with a possibility of success he describes virgin forests and lands of pristine beauty He has the eyes to see the nobility the beauty and the intelligence of the Maasai people Unfortunately then he reverts to the hunt to the tracking of blood trails and gruesome slaughter and skinning of his preyand again his fixation on who got the biggest and the best killI am generous when I give this two stars; most of it I did not like at all Parts not disgusting or childish were instead boring This could have been so much better had Hemingway stopped pouting and observed with open eyes the landscape around him and its peopleThe audiobook is narrated by Josh Lucas It was OK At times particularly in the beginning he speaks so softly mumbling making it difficult to properly hear what is said It does improve I have no idea if the African words were properly pronounced but clearly he loved the swearing in Hemingway’s text Hemingway speaks to us in the first person The intonation used is not how I imagine Hemingway soundedI usually enjoy Hemingway’s prose style but there are only a few such lines here


  5. says:

    Hemingway makes me realize I'm a pussy He makes me realize every male human around me is a pussy After reading this book I tried to find Hemingway's masculinity and spirit in every men I know personally and famous ones and of course the results where dissapointing Then I realized that EH couldn't live in our era That there exists a symbiotic relationship between EH and the first half of 20th century If you read breifly about Hemingway's life in Wikipedia you realized his own life is a harsh novel itself And that his personality was shaped by all the events that occurred in this period of Human History Wars financial depressions male chauvinism and huge rascists concepts accepted in societyand this events reached every men alive in occidental countries Nowadays we are taught that all these events were terrible for humanity and though they still exist we must make our efforts to avoid them In an effort to put a 21st century man in Green Hills of Africa scenes I cannot imagine a high class white wealthy adult travelling alone with 5 masai through the unknown describing their body odor as a tasty fragance without being able to communicate except by hand signals and an old dictionary and leaving behind their blackberrys and Ipads guiding themselves by following tracks and wind changes without Garmin or TomTom guidances Today the meaning of masculinity has drastically changed And reading over EH books feels like a rearviewmirror to a simple lifeHemingway has a way to disguise testosterone in words and for me reading this book was a huge blow of itAfter I finished it I had the fool idea of searching web pages about hunting safaris in Africa and prices on Springfield rifles But after seeing some videos on youtube about major african hunt I once again realized I'm not made of Hermingway's wood It's kind of dissapointing and a relief at the same time hehe Now sitting in a coffee shop drinking a gellatto and tiping in my netbook make me feel ashamed that if Ernest sees me he would call me a single phrase you really ARE a pussy


  6. says:

    I do have positive things to say about this book but they are so tragically overshadowed by the negativeFrankly I found this book boring Perhaps I'm not the target audience but Hemingway made an East African hunting safari in 1935 seem unappealing Book Summary Hemingway goes up a hill looks for kudu shoots something his Africans skin it and he returns to camp and drinks whiskey Repeat this about 35 times and you have the book Ok sometimes the beast he kills is bigger and sometimes smaller and sometimes it takes him three shots to kill it but sometimes just one So yes a lot of variationWhere are the passages on human nature? Where is the commentary on colonialism? Did Hemingway really take his white privilegesupremacy for granted or did he omit this interesting and crucial element from the book on purpose? This book is a tragedy even so because it comes from the man who had an absolute masterpiece in For Whom the Bell Tolls


  7. says:

    I can do nearly everything laterThey are afraid to be alone in their beliefs and no woman would love any of them enough so that they could kill their lonesomeness in that woman or pool it with hers or make something with her that makes the rest unimportantAll I wanted to do now was get back to Africa We had not left it yet but when I would wake in the night I would lie listening homesick for it alreadyNow looking out the tunnel of trees over the ravine at the sky with white clouds moving across in the wind I loved the country so that I was happy as you are after you have been with a woman that you really love when empty you feel it welling up again and there it is and you can never have it all and yet what there is now you can have and you want and to have and be and live in to possess now again for always for that long sudden ended always making time stand still sometime so very still that afterwards you wait to hear it move and it is slow in starting But you are not alone because if you have ever really loved her happy and untragic she loves you always no matter whom she loves nor where she goes she loves you So if you have loved some woman and some country you are very fortunate and if you die afterwards it makes no difference Now being in Africa I was hungry for of it the changes of the seasons the rains with no need to travel the discomforts that you paid to make it real the names of the trees of the small animals and all the birds to know the language and have time to be in it and to move slowly I have loved country all my life the country was always better than the people I could only care about people a very few at a time I’d lie behind a rock and watch them on the hillside and see them long enough so they belonged to me forever


  8. says:

    I have a good life but I must write because if I do not write a certain amount I do not enjoy the rest of my life I came across The Green Hills of Africa selling for cheap at a used bookstore; and since I vaguely remembered that Hemingway’s famous uote about Huckleberry Finn came from this book Hemingway thinks it’s the alpha and omega of American fiction I snatched it up Well that uote is certainly in here It is part of a conversation Hemingway has with an Austrian about literature which for me was the highlight of the book In just a few pages Hemingway weighs the merits and demerits of various writers and then gives his own philosophy of writing It's uite fascinating But this conversation takes place in the first few pages of this travel memoir; the rest of the book is dominated by his hunt for kudu I suspect that many will find the story of Hemingway’s hunts distasteful I for one am not at all interested in hunting I have seen and loved seeing many of the animals in this book when I was in East Africa; so the many descriptions of shooting and skinning gave me the creeps To me it’s as if somebody walked into an art museum took out a pen knife and cut a famous painting out of its frame to take home Can’t you just look and appreciate? Well this perspective—that hunting is distasteful and crass—is expressed by the Austrian in the opening conversation about literature and serves to set up the essential metaphor of this memoir For Hemingway art is very much akin to hunting chasing a fleeting moment through the brush and wilderness under the heavy hot sun following wherever it goes in order to pin it down and capture it in words The Austrian is perhaps like myself a critic he wants only to look and appreciate Hemingway differentiates himself as an artist by being a hunter he stalks and kills So this little memoir can be read in part as an extended allegory of Hemingway’s artistic ideals the artist as disciplined solitary hunter But of course it is also a memoir of his time in Africa And in this respect I think the book was the most disappointing Hemingway is away in his own little world measuring the horns of his prizes tracking wounded animals peevishly complaining any time somebody kills a beast bigger than his The drama of the hunt wasn’t dramatic; and Hemingway’s deadpan writing wasn’t evocative of the landscape He seems uninterested in the political situation in East Africa—which was under the domination of the British—and he generally comes across as a boorish colonialist only interested in his own pleasure Certainly not his best work; but insightful for Hemingway enthusiasts and possibly interesting for big game hunters


  9. says:

    Hemingway can be an irritating son of a bitch and this book is near the top of the here's why list A memoir of Hemingway's hunting expedition to East Africa an area I spent two weeks in recently Green Hills shows absolutely no awareness of the colonial history that structures the relations between the hunter and the numerous Africans who make his pleasure possible There are a few moments when Hemingway realizes that the men who accompany him are every bit as skilled and courageous as he is but those are surrounded by countless scenes where the white supremacy is simply embedded in the reporting What makes that doubly irritating is Hemingway's belief in his own honesty Yeah well Part of my response is no doubt tied to the fact that I'm not a hunter My own experience of the wildlife of Tanzania was simple awe; I didn't feel the slightest inclination to kill it I do understand that for Hemingway hunting involves an aesthetic of attention and care that parallels his approach to writing And it's clear that there's a good bit of irony in his portrait of himself as Great White Hunter he screws up roughly as many shots as he makes and he describes his feelings of shame but ultimately it all comes out as celebration Stylistically there are far too many moments when you can't tell the difference between Hemingway and Hemingway parodied Far from his best writingI was surprised to come across the famous passage often excerpted out of context in which Hemingway mediates on Huck Finn as the source of American literature It's a great set piece oddly situatedI'm moving on to the short story collection The Snows of Kilimanjaro written after the experiences described in this book had some time to marinate


  10. says:

    The first thing that struck me was the forewordUnlike many novels none of the characters or incidents in this book is imaginary Anyone not finding sufficient love interest is at liberty while reading it to insert whatever love interest he or she may have at the time The writer has attempted to write an absolutely true book to see whether the shape of a country and the pattern of a month’s action can if truly presented compete with a work of the imaginationThis alone was uite interesting and gave the impression of an antithesis to a typical introduction of a fiction book where the author denies any similarities to real persons living or dead and of the circumstances to being a work of fiction etc Yet the book begins in the fashion of a fiction narrative and the dialogue typically Hemingway reverberates from his established fictional titles This style of an autobiographical account narrated in fictional prose is new to me The selective nature of having a theme game hunting and setting East Africa within a one year time span and encounters based on real life experience which is transferred to an audience as a story worked wonders in terms of entertainment realism and pure literary delightPutting this new found awe aside what also jumped out at me and got me thinking was the followingThe way to write is as long as you can live and there is pencil and paper or ink or any machine to do it with or anything you care to write about and you feel a fool to do it any other way But here we were now caught by time by the season and by the running out of our money so that what should have been as much fun to do each day whether you killed or not was being forced into that most exciting perversion of life; the necessity of accomplishing something in less time than should truly be allowed for its doingAnd so Hemingway uickly in the stroke of a brush interspersed between sentences about hunting provides the reader with his analysis of what writing represents to him and what he believes by de facto to be a universal truth to everyone else He does have a point of course because writers want to write and they want to write about what they care about – what would be the point otherwise? But calling the reality of life namely lack of money as a catalyst to rushing through deadlines as a perversion is what struck me to be an encapsulating generalization of what writers have to go through to make a livingThere is much wisdom in these words and it is a perversion when a literary work must be rushed Deadlines can be invaluable to writers to keep them working and a necessity for the publishing profession be it newspapers small presses big publishing houses the economic world needs its numbers And dates are just that necessary numbers that work within an analytical framework in relation to other numbers such as budgets estimated sales predicted revenue and all the other blah But what about the story is it still art? Probably to the reader who expects nothing less but to all those in the in between chain it’s a commodity and the writer better provide it on time or else suffer the conseuences of no moneyThe chosen passages below are from early on in the book which I found both informative and stimulatingThe discussion begins in a dialogue where Hemingway is probed about American literature by an inuisitive expat Hemingway discusses his take on American literature at the period circa 1935“We do not have great writers” I said “Something happens to our good writers at a certain age I can explain but it is uite long and may bore you”He then talks about Melville where he believes “They people put a mystery which is not there” And then he goes on to talk about Emerson Hawthorne Whitter and Company as “exiled English colonials from an England from which they were never a part”Then there’s this curious utterance by HemingwaySome writers are only born to help another writer to write one sentence Writers should work alone they should see each other only after their work is done and not too often then Otherwise they become like writers in New YorkIt does make me think whether Hemingway’s insight is as relevant today as it was thenAnd when talking about the good writers Hemingway refers to Henry James Stephen Crane and Mark Twain He says “Mark Twain is a humorist The others I do not know” And then the often referenced passage about TwainAll modern American literature comes from one book by Mark Twain called Huckleberry Finn If you read it you must stop where the Nigger Jim is stolen from the boys That is the real end The rest is just cheating But it’s the best book we’ve had all American writing comes from that There was nothing before There has been nothing as good sinceHemingway explains the fall of writers as particularly due to extra costs and hurried workWe destroy them American writers in many ways First economically They make money It is only by a hazard that a writer makes money although good books always make money eventually Then our writers when they have made some money increase their standard of living and they are caught They have to write to keep up their establishment their wives and so on and they write slop It is not slop on purpose but because it is hurried Because they write when there is nothing to say or no water in the well Because they are ambitious Then once they have betrayed themselves they justify it and you get slopThese exchanges and others not uoted here helped reveal a lot about Hemingway’s views on the literature of his time The manner in which Hemingway expresses these viewpoints is original bearing in mind this is neither an article journal memoir essay or any other strict form Green Hills of Africa is a non fiction book perhaps what is termed today ‘Creative Non fiction’ depicting a certain time frame in Hemingway’s life involving one theme – hunting What then made him keep these exchanges when editing his book for publication? And why the need to share these personal viewpoints about his contemporaries in such an out of context theme?


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Green Hills of Africa

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Green Hills of Africa is Ernest Hemingway's lyrical journal of a month on safari in the great game country of East Africa where he and his wife Pauline journeyed in December The subject of the pursuit is the elusive kudu an animal you must hunt alone like writers must write aloneIn Hemingway’s experimental work the Green Hills of Africa he produces possibly one of the earliest works of creative nonfiction reveals how the search for good land parallels a writer’s search for good material and most of all reveals himself—warts and all “Fitting in” being recognized as an aficionado or knowing how to be an insider rather than a tourist surfaces as a dominant theme in Hemingway’s fiction and non fiction Hemingway prides himself on knowing how to handle his liuor how to appreciate bullfighting how to fish and hunt and most importantly how to become accepted in any country he visits Hemingway’s self image however may be at odds with reality In Africa for example the paid trackers that accompany Hemingway on his safari may or may not respect him Further whether Hemingway achieves insider status is moot since his view of Africa remains hopelessly distorted due to his position of privilege and his cultural baggage In The Green Hills of Africa Hemingway’s project to write an “absolutely true book” tends to deconstruct Often Hemingway achieves truth in ways he may not have intended and fails to achieve truth in ways he may not have foreseenThroughout his book Hemingway uses Africa as a hunting resource as an extended metaphor and as material for his next book Despite Hemingway’s goal to present an “absolutely true book” his rearrangement of events and extensive use of metaphor lend a fictional resonance to his purported non fiction The landscape or “shape of a country” operates on several levels in Green Hills During Hemingway and Kandisky’s literary discussion a metaphor is set up that extends throughout the book Hemingway makes an implicit comparison between hunting and writing The writer’s material becomes the landscape while his subject is the uest or “pursuit” itself In Green Hills the subject of the pursuit is the elusive kudu an animal you must hunt alone like writers must write alone or else—contaminated by their contact with other writers—they all will become “angleworms in a bottle trying to derive knowledge and nourishment from their own contact and from the bottle” 21 In addition to the criteria Hemingway cites to become a great writer namely talent discipline sincerity intelligence detachment and time 27 it becomes apparent that the writer’s material metaphorically the landscape is also essential for success Writers who do not experience life honestly and empirically will not have the material to be great but will instead present their “knowledge wrapped in the rhetoric like plums in a pudding” 20 or write second hand dead prose Kandisky a watcher exemplifies the sort of sterile second hand lifestyle Hemingway views as unproductive Commenting on their conversation Kandisky remarks “This is what I enjoy This is the best part of life The life of the mind This is not killing kudu” 19 What Kandisky omits in his version of the good life is the process of pursuit In Green Hills Hemingway’s uest for suitable terrain dramatizes the writer’s creative process His search for good land—the material—consumes much of the book’s action Not surprisingly the kudu embodies the writer’s aim a goal Kandisky a non writer non hunter non taker of risks can no understand than the pursuit of the kudu Kandisky in fact skeptically interrogates Hemingway’s motivation in both pursuits as hunter and as writerBy setting up this comparison between writing and hunting material and land early in the book the narrative takes on the resonance of allegory a literary device again crossing the boundaries of Hemingway’s ostensibly non fictional project As allegory all the descriptions of landscape and pursuit may be read in terms of the writer’s craft and vice versa The repeated literary discussions and comments throughout the book—seemingly digressive non seuiturs—reinforce this parallel construction; they are all as much about hunting as writingHemingway thus imbues the African landscape with value there is good land and bad land In keeping with the patterns Carlos Baker has noted the low lands are bad while the highlands hills are good Conseuently Hemingway experiences mostly frustration and disappointment on the Serengeti plains and the Rift Valley Both areas emerge as wastelands Clearly these barren lands are as incapable of generating superior game as poor material is of generating superior prose Predictably the kudu are found in the lush highlands a land that emerges unexpectedly and wonderfully at the edge of the plain Under scrutiny however Hemingway’s allegorized landscape of good landbad land good materialbad material deteriorates Even with talent or good land or good material corruption lurks at the fringes Similarly the writer’s ability to truly represent reality—Hemingway’s standard for writing excellence—faces constant erosion due to the pressures of time as well as the exploitative forces of civilizationIn the metafictional world of Green Hills then what Hemingway sees happening to the land relates back directly to what he sees happening to writers The land itself—particularly good land—will ultimately fall prey to corruption and exploitation Throughout the book Hemingway refers to Tanganyika’s similarities to familiar landscapes such as that of Michigan Wyoming Spain France and so forth to universalize his experience Tanganyika

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Re of the hunt and an impassioned portrait of the glory of the African landscape and of the beauty of a wilderness that was even then being threatened by the incursions of m I have a good life but I must write because if I do not write a certain amount I do not enjoy the rest of my life I came across The Green Hills of Africa selling for cheap at a used bookstore; and since I vaguely remembered that Hemingway’s famous uote about Huckleberry Finn came from this book Hemingway thinks it’s the alpha and omega of American fiction I snatched it up Well that uote is certainly in here It is part of a conversation Hemingway has with an Austrian about literature which for me was the highlight of the book In just a few pages Hemingway weighs the merits and demerits of various writers and then gives his own philosophy of writing It's uite fascinating But this conversation takes place in the first few pages of this travel memoir; the rest of the book is dominated by his hunt for kudu I suspect that many will find the story of Hemingway’s hunts distasteful I for one am not at all interested in hunting I have seen and loved seeing many of the animals in this book when I was in East Africa; so the many descriptions of shooting and skinning gave me the creeps To me it’s as if somebody walked into an art museum took out a pen knife and cut a famous painting out of its frame to take home Can’t you just look and appreciate Well this perspective—that hunting is distasteful and crass—is expressed by the Austrian in the opening conversation about literature and serves to set up the essential metaphor of this memoir For Hemingway art is very much akin to hunting chasing a fleeting moment through the brush and wilderness under the heavy hot sun following wherever it goes in order to pin it down and capture it in words The Austrian is perhaps like myself a critic he wants only to look and appreciate Hemingway differentiates himself as an artist by being a hunter he stalks and kills So this little memoir can be read in part as an extended allegory of Hemingway’s artistic ideals the artist as disciplined solitary hunter But of course it is also a memoir of his time in Africa And in this respect I think the book was the most disappointing Hemingway is away in his own little world measuring the horns of his prizes tracking wounded animals peevishly complaining any time somebody kills a beast bigger than his The drama of the hunt wasn’t dramatic; and Hemingway’s deadpan writing wasn’t evocative of the landscape He seems uninterested in the political situation in East Africa—which was under the domination of the British—and he generally comes across as a boorish colonialist only interested in his own pleasure Certainly not his best work; but insightful for Hemingway enthusiasts and possibly interesting for big game hunters

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1933 Hemingway's well known interest in and fascination with big game hunting is magnificently captured in this evocative account of his trip It is an examination of the lu This is non fiction It is about a big game hunting safari taken by Ernest Hemingway and his second wife Pauline Marie Pfeiffer in December 1933 They traveled to East Africa Aided by native trackers they hunted buffalo rhinoceros kudu and sable antelope These were the big attractions of the hunt More important still was who of the hunters would achieve the biggest kill In my eyes the competition between the men was extremely childish the hunt itself gruesome and revolting The book is composed of four parts Pursuit and Conversation Pursuit Remembered Pursuit and Failure and Pursuit as HappinessIn the first and second parts Hemingway expresses his personal views on a number of American and European authors He refers to Mark Twain Stephen Crane Sinclair Lewis James Joyce Rainer Maria Rilke Leo Tolstoy Gustave Flaubert and Fyodor Dostoevsky for example He speaks of which of their works HE admires most but there is not deep analysis of any of the writers This did add a speck of interest but I do not see why it is found here in this book on African huntingThe second part has a flashback to earlier hunting in the Rift Valley of Tanzania The third part—look at its title “Pursuit and Failure” It is full of grumbling complaining and whining Men behaving as small boysThe fourth part gets a bit better The “little boy”s became less sour when they manage to kill animals Hemingway waxes lyrical when with a possibility of success he describes virgin forests and lands of pristine beauty He has the eyes to see the nobility the beauty and the intelligence of the Maasai people Unfortunately then he reverts to the hunt to the tracking of blood trails and gruesome slaughter and skinning of his preyand again his fixation on who got the biggest and the best killI am generous when I give this two stars; most of it I did not like at all Parts not disgusting or childish were instead boring This could have been so much better had Hemingway stopped pouting and observed with open eyes the landscape around him and its peopleThe audiobook is narrated by Josh Lucas It was OK At times particularly in the beginning he speaks so softly mumbling making it difficult to properly hear what is said It does improve I have no idea if the African words were properly pronounced but clearly he loved the swearing in Hemingway’s text Hemingway speaks to us in the first person The intonation used is not how I imagine Hemingway soundedI usually enjoy Hemingway’s prose style but there are only a few such lines here

  • Paperback
  • 200
  • Green Hills of Africa
  • Ernest Hemingway
  • English
  • 21 June 2019
  • 9780099460954

About the Author: Ernest Hemingway

Ernest Miller Hemingway was an American author and journalist His economical and understated style had a strong influence on 20th century fiction while his life of adventure and his public image influenced later generations Hemingway produced most of his work between the mid 1920s and the mid 1950s and won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1954 He published seven novels six short story collec