Naomi Wood & “Mrs. Hemingway”

For the short story competition that we at the Hemingway-Pfeiffer Museum and Educational Center are sponsoring, we racked our brains trying to figure out who would be a suitable judge. The competition, which is for undergraduate college students in the state of Arkansas, is a first (and hopefully not the last) for us at the  Museum. A list of names was suggested, but questions lingered. Would they come? Would they have time? Would they even care?

After much searching and research, when the London based author Naomi Wood name came up in suggestion a unanimous chorus of “YES!” rang out. Truthfully, Wood, the author of The Godless Boys and the highly critically acclaimed (and our personal favorite) Mrs. Hemingway contacted us via Twitter, where our relationship was born.

If you haven’t already read one of Wood’s novels then YOU SHOULD. Mrs. Hemingway tells the story of how it was to love, and be loved by, the most famous and dashing writer of his generation. Hadley, Piggott’s own Pauline, Martha and Mary; each Mrs. Hemingway thought their love would last forever; each one was wrong.

Told in four parts and based on real love letters and telegrams, Mrs. Hemingway reveals the explosive love triangles that wrecked each of Hemingway’s marriages. Spanning 1920s bohemian Paris through 1960s Cold War America, populated with members of the fabled “Lost Generation.”

A critic for a London paper, Metro, wrote that the book is: “a boozy whistlestop tour through all the best places to be in the first half of the 20th century, with the four brave women who took a ride on the mercurial Hemingway’s roller coaster.”

We must say that Wood’s writing is well-crafted and compelling, just as a dark side ripples below the seemingly picturesque and romantic surface that many hold to the Hemingway myth. She paints a gut-wrenching and beautiful portrayal what it was like to be a “Mrs. Hemingway.”

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