The New York Times bestseller. “Fiendishly readable . . . a deeply, almost obsessively researched biography of a book.”—The Washington Post
In the summer of 1925, Ernest Hemingway and a clique of raucous companions traveled to Pamplona, Spain, for the town’s infamous running of the bulls. Then, over the next six weeks, he channeled that trip’s maelstrom of drunken brawls, sexual rivalry, midnight betrayals, and midday hangovers into his groundbreaking novel The Sun Also Rises. This revolutionary work redefined modern literature as much as it did his peers, who would forever after be called the Lost Generation. But the full story of Hemingway’s legendary rise has remained untold until now.
Lesley Blume resurrects the explosive, restless landscape of 1920s Paris and Spain and reveals how Hemingway helped create his own legend. He made himself into a death-courting, bull-fighting aficionado; a hard-drinking, short-fused literary genius; and an expatriate bon vivant. Blume’s vivid account reveals the inner circle of the Lost Generation as we have never seen it before and shows how it still influences what we read and how we think about youth, sex, love, and excess.
“Totally captivating, smartly written, and provocative.”—Glamour
“[A] must-read . . . The boozy, rowdy nights in Paris, the absurdities at Pamplona’s Running of the Bulls and the hungover brunches of the true Lost Generation come to life in this intimate look at the lives of the author’s expatriate comrades.”—Harper’s Bazaar
“A fascinating recreation of one of the most mythic periods in American literature—the one set in Paris in the ’20s.”—Jay McInerney
In this revealing new study, Blume shows that a series of competing internal and external pressures helped birth Hemingway's now-legendary debut roman clef, The Sun Also Rises. Blume begins by tracing Hemingway's dogged path to becoming a published writer. By the time Hemingway and his first wife, Hadley, arrived in Paris in 1921, he was considered one of the most promising young American authors, though he had published only a few short stories. The particulars of the Hemingways' epic trip to Pamplona, Spain, with five friends in the summer of 1925 and the romantic entanglements that followed shed light not only on Hemingway's early career but also on other stories of the lost generation. After Hemingway refashioned their trip into a novel, he focused on a publishing contract for what he firmly believed be a blockbuster sensation. In the subsequent negotiations and editing process, Blume reveals, F. Scott Fitzgerald played a surprisingly large role. Blume has carved a mountain of original research into a riveting tale of Hemingway's literary, romantic, and publishing travails.