With the Daiquiri episode we come to the first one where I read a book to support the show content. Now to be exact, this isn’t the first episode I read a book for, but it’s the first one that I went back and replaced old content where I did read a book. Episode 40 The Mint Julep was the first time I tried the book reading strategy to enhance the show and I saw a big improvement in what I could contribute to the production, but I’ll discuss that process when I get to it. The book I read was called The Hemingway Patrols: Ernest Hemingway and His Hunt for U-Boats by Terry Mort.
In this episode we focus on the wheeling and dealing in Cuba that possibly helped create the Daiquiri with a large chunk about Hemingway and his time on the island. The part about the American monied interests in Cuba is actually becoming more informed as I prep for the Park Avenue episode…it’s a thread in the Monster In A Glass series that grows as our cocktail list expands. The Hemingway portion of the episode, I think, is pretty well complete.
In the 1940s, Ernest Hemingway, award winning author and journalist, moved to Cuba to inspire his next big adventure (and some new stories and books). Europe was heating up and the wheels of war were well in motion, though not yet for the U.S. Having spent time in Spain covering the Spanish Civil War, Hemingway had become politically activated and he was fired up to get in on the action. Living in Cuba he proposed being a spy for the U.S. government and when that didn’t pan out, he opted for being a German submarine hunter in the Caribbean. With his pack of drinking buddies and a steady flow of rum he hit the high seas fueled by the heroic fantasies to inspire his next book Islands in the Stream.
I thought I knew enough about Ernest Hemingway before this episode was produced. I learned I didn’t know enough. I think we often view him in a romantic literary lens, but as time moves on and life seems more like history, his glory truly fades. To say he wasn’t important in his time would be careless, but to think his messages are as valuable today would be ridiculous. We’ve surpassed his portrayals of reflective masculinity and the dangerous world he wrote about is something we can no longer relate to.
The interesting thing is that I took more away from studying his life than reading his fiction. Reading his story we see a sad alcoholic living in a dream world of his own making with enough money and personal prestige he’s given the allowance to attempt to make his fantasies reality. And in each scenario the people close to him discover his cracked fragility and slowly move away quietly as the rest of the world lets him continue the farce of his existence. By the end everyone knew his game and everyone had stopped paying attention.
His own sad life is a better story than anything he wrote. That is truly a timeless story.