Literary Gadling: Hemingway’s Cuba, Cuba’s Hemingway

Paging through the August 2007 issue of the Smithsonian Magazine, I found an article about Ernest Hemingway’s impact on Havana. It is written by Hemingway’s last personal secretary, Valerie Hemingway, who later married his youngest son Gregory (hence the same last name.) Hemingway lived in Cuba before 1960, when the US Ambassador advised it would no longer be safe for him to live there. He kept a presence there for 30 years.

Apparently, the Hemingway image–Bohemian, with a cigar–has become a Cuban export. Havana has museums dedicated to him and anything from soccer teams to cocktails named after him. A part of the America vs. Cuba rivalry, she suggests.

Although Valerie made me cringe with her use of “city of contrasts“, possibly the worst travel expression cliche there is, I still found the article about Hemingway’s life in Cuba and his current presence fascinating. It made me want to pack my bags and go there right away. Not being a US citizen, I actually can!