Showing posts with label Naomi Wood. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Naomi Wood. Show all posts

Tuesday, July 2, 2019

Mrs Hemingway by Naomi Wood

Rating: WARTY!

Narrated by someone with the highly-appropriate name of Kate Reading, but who ought to be named Kate Droning since she does an unfortunately monotonous job of it, this audiobook, which I had initially (and mistakenly) thought was a biography, turned out to be a tedious and pretentious fiction that tells us nothing whatsoever since it's the purest invention of the author. It turns out that Kate Reading is actually a fake name which I'm sure she thinks is hilarious.

Naturally it's rooted in the reality of Hemingway being unable to commit to a woman and holding the misogynistic and highly abusive idea that he ought to be entitled to a wife and a mistress at the same time and under the same roof, regardless of their wishes, but for me, this book did nothing to tell the real story of the women involved. It was far more about Hemingway and his four wives than ever it was about four women who happened at one point or another to be married to Ernest Hemingway.

The book felt like one of those where the title is along the lines of "The __________'s Daughter" or in this case, "The Iceberg Author's Wives" - it renders the women an appendage of someone else: a guy, rather than their own autonomous selves. I don't like that. I'm recently read such a work by Kate Moss and it was boring. It's going to be the last such book I read because the title is problematic for me from the off, before you even get to the story. The thing is though, that when I got to the story in this case, the author did precisely the same thing to these four women that such titles do to the female subjects of such novels. It's not appreciated and female writers in particular should be ashamed of writing things like that.

But I digress! So the first story is Hadley Hemingway going on about her competitive position with regard to Pauline Pfeiffer, but we really learn far less about these two women than we do about Hemingway, and it was disappointing. At that point I skipped to the one which interested me most, which was Martha Gellhorn, and after that, I quit listening altogether, because she wasn't in the story at all except as a story told by Hadley which even further removed her as a subject than Hadley had been! Go figure. I decided to go directly to the author's mouth and have reviewed - positively! - a couple of books that Martha Gellhorn actually wrote herself. Meanwhile I am done with this author. This book is bad writing, period.