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Hemingway on safari in 1954

True at First Light is a book by American novelist Ernest Hemingway about his 1953–54 East African safari with his fourth wife Mary, released posthumously in his centennial year in 1999. The book received mostly negative or lukewarm reviews from the popular press and sparked a literary controversy regarding how, and whether, an author's work should be reworked and published after his death. Unlike critics of the popular press, Hemingway scholars generally consider True at First Light to be complex and a worthy addition in his canon of later fiction. In January 1954, Hemingway and Mary were in two successive plane crashes in the African bush in a two-day period. He was reported dead by the international press, arriving in Entebbe to face questions from reporters. The severity of his injuries was not completely diagnosed until months later when he returned to Europe. Hemingway spent much of the next two years in Havana, recuperating and writing the manuscript of what he called the Africa book, which remained unfinished at the time of his suicide in July 1961. In the 1970s, Mary donated his manuscripts to the John F. Kennedy Library, including the Africa book. The manuscript was released to Hemingway's son Patrick in the mid-1990s. Patrick edited the work to half its original length to strengthen the underlying storyline and emphasize the fictional aspects. The result is a blend of memoir and fiction. (more...)

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