Re: RARA-AVIS: Hemingway

From: Brian Thornton (
Date: 10 May 2005

Vicki Hendricks wrote:

> I'd forgotten about "Cat in the Rain," but have just read a section of
> Robert
> Olen Butler's new writing book From Where You Dream, where he talks about
> that story in order to illustrate Hemingway's "cinematically sensual way"
> of
> directing a scene. Butler's book is wonderful for anyone who writes or
> teaches
> writing, and Hemingway's genius in cinematic technique is clarified in a
> few
> pages.

When I was first dipping my toe in the pool of trying to write speculative fiction, I wrote a screenplay adapting "Hills Like White Elephants," "Cat in the Rain" and "A Clean, Well-Lighted Place" into one narrative, with the female and male characters from the former two melded together into one character each, and the hotel manager from "Cat in the Rain" combined with the older, disillusioned waiter in "A Clean, Well-Lighted Place." I had no intention of ever trying to get it produced, but as a learning exercise it was mighty instructive for me. It really showed me how Hemingway so adroitly managed what Vicki calls "cinematic technique." I think that's an insightful description. After all, the camera eye does not blink, and rarely turns away. Neither does the narrative in much of hard-boiled and noir fiction.

> I guess the woman in "The Short Happy Life..." shows a side of women that
> I sometimes get into trouble for writing about--from women.

Interesting to compare the memsahib from "The Short Happy Life of Francis MacComber" to the outwardly (in situation, circumstance, physical location, background, etc.) similar, yet very different wife of the dying writer in
"The Snows of Kilimanjaro," isn't it?

All the Best-

Brian Thornton

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This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : 10 May 2005 EDT