The book opens on the day Hemingway's close friend Pop, a legendary hunter, leaves him in charge of the camp. Tensions have heightened among the various tribes and news arrives of a potential attack on the hunters, forcing Hemingway not only to take on his new role of leader but, equally important, to assist his wife Mary in pursuing the great ...Read MoreThe book opens on the day Hemingway's close friend Pop, a legendary hunter, leaves him in charge of the camp. Tensions have heightened among the various tribes and news arrives of a potential attack on the hunters, forcing Hemingway not only to take on his new role of leader but, equally important, to assist his wife Mary in pursuing the great lion she is determined to kill before Christmas. Passionately detailing the African landscape, the excitement of the chase, and the heartfelt relationships with his African neighbours, Hemingway, a master of dramatic fiction, weaves a tale that is rich in laughter, beauty and insight. Written when Hemingway returned from his 1953 safari, and edited by his son Patrick, True At First Light is a rich blend of autobiography and fiction, a breathtaking final work from one of this century's most beloved and important writers.Read Less
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Publishers Weekly, 1999-08-02 Who wants to go on an 11-hour audio safari with an aging, ego-bloated Hemingway? That's the immediate drawback to listening to this posthumous memoir-turned-novel (edited into its current form by the legendary author's son Patrick). If anyone is capable of breathing life into Hemingway's late tale of big-game hunting with his wife in East Africa, however, it is Dennehy, one of the finest narrators in the spoken-audio field. Here he works to convey the essential nature of Hemingway's character; he contrasts the sparse elegance of Hemingway's descriptive prose style against the more swaggering posture of his ever-present pride. By the time Hemingway wrote this book, he was well aware of his celebrity, his aura, his powers?was able to flatly say, "I love command." Dennehy plays up this self-conscious quality, offering it as a portrait of the author's psyche. It's that sense of performance that makes this audio adaptation spark to life. Based on the 1999 Scribner hardcover. (Aug.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Publishers Weekly, 1999-05-10 More a curiosity than a major contribution to his oeuvre, this fictional memoir of a 1953 safari in Kenya, edited by Hemingway's son Patrick from a first-draft manuscript and published to celebrate the 100th anniversary of Papa's birth, is a sometimes entertaining, sometimes trying read. Hemingway narrates the rambling story in his own voice, and others, including his wife, Mary, are identified by name. More humorous than most of Hemingway's novels, the narrative also contains enough hunting scenes for Hemingway and others to show the requisite grace under pressure. The old Hemingway magic flashes sporadically, like lightning, but not often enough. There are a series of sentences intoning "I wished..." reminiscent of his earlier linguistic triumphs, and some dialogue, crisp and to the point, like the stichomythia of Greek tragedy. Lines like "So I carried her in and she weighed just what a woman that you love should weigh when you lifted her in your arms...." still resonate. The Kenyan setting is atmospheric, but the promising elements of the plot?a possible Mau Mau attack on the camp, Miss Mary's determination to kill a lion?too often stagnate for lack of action and dramatic tension. Some uneasiness occurs between Hemingway and Mary over Hemingway's attraction to an African woman, Debba, but even this is pretty tame. A supporting cast of African characters are not distinct individuals, and the prolific use of Swahili words is often confusing in spite of a glossary. Yet, as prose by Hemingway, no matter how distanced and imperfect, the book is still worth reading. Perhaps it will inspire new readers to delve into Hemingway's true legacy, the novels and stories like "Cat in the Rain," and "The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber." BOMC main selection; first serial to the New Yorker; rights sold in Denmark, England, France, Germany, Iceland, Italy, Norway, Poland, Spain, Sweden and the Czech Republic. (July)
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