Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Hemingway's Girl by Erika Robuck

Published in 2012, and the first novel for the author, this 321 pages came as a gift, a first edition and signed by the author.  I had read a review somewhere and thought it an "interesting concept" as my friend wrote;  it was on my list of perhaps to pick up at a book sale.  I will be recommending it to my book club and will be interested in their reactions.  It begins with detailed descriptive writing which I prefer.   Look at this phrase  on the very first page,  "Her slender forearms flexed to the pole, and drops of sweat mingled with sprays of seawater, leaving a briny film on her skin."  The comparisons are further demonstration of the thought that the author has put into her work, not just merely slapping words onto the page.

Page 3 in reference to the banyan trees, "She could still feel the banyan's presence, though its great woody roots strangling some old host tree.  She remembered when Hemingway had planted a banyan at his house and told her its parasitic roots were like human desire."     It did stir my interest to perhaps someday, reread Hemingway's books which reside smartly on my home library shelf, read long ago in  youth.  Interesting that the author is a self proclaimed Hemingway'phile having read  Farewell to Arms  at 19 years of age,  It is good to have read while young, I believe, because this is the beginning of knowledge and  foundation of lifelong interests.

On pages 108-- Mariella, describes her turmoil with her mother, a long grieving widow who pulls others into her self misery.  She writes that her anger outweighed her compassion for her mother as they exchange viscious comments.  Oh, that was a familiar scene. 

The story did not always follow as I thought it would  and while this book is certainly not a mystery, but historical fiction, it's predicaments kept me reading along.  The main character Mariella tells the tale and as the author admits in the reader's guide at the end of the book, her seed of question about the boy's father intrigued me.  I had forgotten some history of the 1930's that she  includes and the  US government's  attitude toward veterans.   I did not know about the Labor Day hurricane.  The author does a marvelous job making that tragedy pertinent to today and the FEMA, etc.governmental intervention during  Katrina, Sandy, and all other natural disasters.  The other message is some attitudes today are not new.  Erika Robuck  achieved her stated  goal of interconnecting a historical span while  transporting people and places across time.

I give it  just shy of a 4**** rating.  It was a fast enough read and one I will share.  I was glad to have gotten this gift.