I’m late in posting this. Nearly two weeks ago I attended the talk and book signing Valerie Hemingway gave at the Library of Michigan in Lansing as part of the The Great Michigan Read program. (The Nick Adams Stories is the book.) She read excerpts from and discussed her book Running with the Bulls: My Years with the Hemingways.
She met Ernest Hemingway when she was 19 years old in Madrid while working as a freelance journalist. She became his secretary, typing the manuscript for A Moveable Feast, and friend. Five years after his death she married one of his sons, Greg. Valerie’s memoir is about her life with the writer during the last two years of his life, and her later marriage to Greg, who suffered from manic depression and had difficulty coming to terms with his need for a sex change operation. The book is never dull. Ernest was a heavy drinker until the end of his life. I haven’t yet read any biographies of him. I’m more interested now than I was before.
The Ernest Hemingway Valerie encounters is old, highly knowledgeable, and gregarious, but also very depressed and vulnerable. The family he left behind was in complete disarray.