A Dangerous Summer

A Dangerous Summer by Earnest Hemingway

Ernest Hemingway

Scribner, 1960

I finally found a book by Hemingway that I don’t like. “A Dangerous Summer” recounts the summer of 1960, during which Hemingway followed the bullfighting circuit in Spain. As Papa Hemingway notes, he has already written Spain, both in “The Sun Also Rises” and in “A Farewell to Arms.” He should have left it at that. I did learn more than I ever wanted to know about bullfighting, but the elderly Hemingway is not quite as lively as the younger version. He does have his moments, such as the pictures of him shooting cigarettes out of a bullfighters’ mouth with a bee-bee gun. Still, there isn’t really any point to this story. He manages to string the reader along by foreshadowing a tragedy, but, although I don’t know what constituted a tragedy in 1960, these days, a single goring does not a tragedy make.

One interesting note on this otherwise forgettable book is the introduction by James Michener. The entire book is only 150 pages long, but Michener feels it necessary to offer a 40-page introduction. At this point, I don’t know if Michener is my least favorite writer or if he is one of my favorites. My favorite part of the book was laughing at how delusional Michener seems to be. He compares his own work favorably with “The Old Man and the Sea.” If Michener is the equal of Hemingway, then I’m the equal of Magellan. The esteemed author of the introduction, who apparently feels himself worthy of a Nobel Prize, only offers a lukewarm review of the book, which should have been an indication that this book was one to skip.

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