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Summary

An assemblage of reflections on the nature of writing and the writer from one the greatest American writers of the 20th century.

Throughout Hemingway’s career as a writer, he maintained that it was bad luck to talk about writing - that it takes off “whatever butterflies have on their wings and the arrangement of hawk’s feathers if you show it or talk about it”. 

Despite this belief, by the end of his life he had done just what he intended not to do. In his novels and stories, in letters to editors, friends, fellow artists, and critics, in interviews and in commissioned articles on the subject, Hemingway wrote often about writing. And he wrote as well and as incisively about the subject as any writer who ever lived....

This book contains Hemingway’s reflections on the nature of the writer and on elements of the writer’s life, including specific and helpful advice to writers on the craft of writing, work habits, and discipline. The Hemingway personality comes through in general wisdom, wit, humor, and insight, and in his insistence on the integrity of the writer and of the profession itself. (From the Preface by Larry W. Phillips)

©2002 Larry W. Phillips (P)2019 Simon and Schuster

What listeners say about Ernest Hemingway on Writing

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interesting insights into writing

very different from the Stephen king book I read on writing and so fantastic to get a different perspective. if you want to write this is worth reading

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The. Key to the fabled mystery is unlocked

Although it may come across as fragmented, look beyond the finger pointing to the stars. There is much to glean from the master of versatile prose.

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  • brendan f kelly
  • 04-08-21

Smart book, good idea, good narrator, annoying

This is an assemblage of quotes that Hemmingway wrote about writing. I am not enough of an author to gage how useful the advice is. I can say that assembling all these quotes was a great idea, and it is a useful if annoying listen.

I say annoying because every quote is cited. This is only good and proper and in a PRINT book putting the citation with the quote is obviously the way to go. It may well be the way to go with the audio book too. The only problem is, there are a LOT of cites. I mean A LOT. You will get six, four, perhaps even just one sentence by Hemmingway, only to then be interrupted by the citation. It is kind of like this

Hemmingway voice :"I think writing is very manly and true and good...like blah, blah... running with the bulls..."

(LOUD VOICE FOR CITATION) "LETTER TO JUAN DOS PASSOS MAY 12, 1937

Hemmingway voice "Writing is manly only if you use as few words as possible....blah...blah.."

(LOUD VOICE FOR CITATION) UNPUBLISHED ESSAY, AUGUST 1949

Hemmingway voice "This is a fairly long quotation, several sentences long, ... saying something you really are interested in... blah.. blah... Fitzgerald...blah... blah.. good and pure and true...blah blah this is where it gets really interesting...and just as you are really getting into the heart of the issue."

(LOUD VOICE FOR CITATION) LETTER TO RANDOM HOUSE, DECEMBER 1939

The constant interruptions for the citations get really annoying after a while.

You get the idea. It is kind of like trying to sleep with a new baby in the house, just as you start to relax and get into it, you get interrupted. It can be quite jarring.

For me it takes a lot of fun out of it. I hope you don't have the same experience.

That being said, the narrator did a magnificent job. He really captures the essence of the quotations, and I assume, the man. Did a bang up job. The book itself is a brilliant idea, and I'm sure will be very useful to a lot of people. It is probably better in print format than audio though.

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  • Robert J. Sannelli
  • 10-10-20

Writing Guidabce

Little technical writing guidance , a collection of unrelated material. Tiresome and disappointing.Stephen King does a better job.

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  • Patrick N
  • 20-01-21

A Writer’s Bible

This book should be a staple or ANY writer’s career—regardless of his or her ranking in the literary world. A $7-dollar investment worth millions.

1 person found this helpful

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  • See Reverse
  • 23-03-22

Hemingway's Excerpts on Writing

Ernest Hemingway wrote stories about writers, and letters about stories. This base material has been cleverly organized to highlight major themes on how Hemingway approached writing. As an audiobook, it takes a while to maintain flow across all of the citations associated with the text. I loved hearing how Hemingway strove for originality, but much preferred Stephen King's "On Writing".

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  • Machoman
  • 08-06-20

Great audio quality and reader voice

Voice quality is wonderful and with character. Regarding the excerpts, about half are good, 1/4th decent and 1/4th not so good. This book is calming to listen to. Definitely recommend.