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Word Count: 341
Just in time to mark the 100th anniversary of the birth of Ernest Hemingway comes his latest book True At First Light His son Patrick has edited an unpublished manuscript the author wrote about his trip to Africa in 1953-54 Patrick shouldnt have bothered The book is an aimless boring ramble where nothing much happens Hemingway has been left in charge of the bush camp and he dwells on the responsibility He writes about hunting his men the threat of an attack by local men and the determination of his wife Mary to kill a lion Her obsession with the lion is just one subject causing some domestic discord the other is his relationship with a local woman named Debba Much of the dialogue revolves around their daily bickering Hemingways use of the endearment Honey drips with barely concealed impatience and condescension and becomes wholly annoying True At First Light is a fictional memoir which blends real events or people with the technique of fiction In his introduction Patrick writes that ambiguous counterpoint between fiction and truth lies at the heart of this memoir That would mean something if the story had any feeling The real fault of this book is theres no connection to Hemingways usual ideas and passions it remains limp Aside from the occasional nice description of wildlife or landscape the only passage of note is one where we can appreciate Hemingways reverence for Africa Men know that they are children in relation to the countryTo have the heart of a child is not a disgrace It is an honour A man must comport himself as a man He must fight He should follow his tribal laws and customs But it is never a reproach that he has kept a childs heart a childs honesty and a childs freshness and nobility Sadly theres very little else of value here If
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