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Hemingway Adventure

Venice (first day)

Redipuglia, Italy 
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Redipuglia. Mussolini made sure the First World War dead would not be forgotten with a memorial that takes up an entire hillside.
Michael Palin - Hemingway AdventureAfter his formative experiences in the First World War, Hemingway didn’t return to Italy for nearly thirty years.

When he did he was no longer the cocky teenager, he was a forty-something best-selling author and international celebrity.

He was particularly susceptible to the attentions of Italian aristocrats and in the winter of 1948 he went shooting at the private reserve of Baron Nanyuki Franchetti. Here history began to repeat itself as, thirty years after his love affair with his nurse in Milan, his attention was caught by the only woman at the shoot, an eighteen-year-old called Adriana Ivancic.

She was wet through and miserable at the end of an unsuccessful day’s shooting and after drying her hair found she had nothing to comb it with.

Hemingway produced his own comb (by then he was quite vain about his thinning hair), broke it in two and handed half to her.

So began, if not a love affair, certainly an infatuation with Adriana, which led to the writing of prob-ably his worst novel, Across the River and into the Trees, which tells the story of an American soldier returning to his old stamping grounds in Italy and falling in love with a nineteen-year-old girl called Renata. The relationship is consummated in a gondola.

In the New Yorker, E. B. White parodied the book’s style under the title ‘Across the Street and into the Grill’:

This is my last and best and true and only meal, thought Mr. Pirnie as he descended at noon and swung east on the beat-up sidewalk of Forty-fifth Street. Just ahead of him was the girl from the reception desk. I am a little fleshed up around the crook of the elbow, thought Pirnie, but I commute good.
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  • Series: Hemingway Adventure
  • Chapter: Venice (first day)
  • Country/sea: Italy
  • Place: Venice
  • Book page no: 56

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