Authors Who Lived in More Than One Country

I recently finished Vladimir Nabokov’s Pale Fire, and, after musing about how clever that novel is, I read a Wikipedia biography of the author.

It turned out that Nabokov wrote his first nine novels in Russian before switching to English — after which he authored his two most famous books: the controversial Lolita and the aforementioned Pale Fire, which consists of a poem followed by an extended, often-hilarious analysis that’s less about the poem than about the weird analyzer (who may or may not be a king who escaped to the U.S.).

Nabokov’s life got me thinking about other authors who lived in more than one country, and what effect that had on their work. Obviously, writers with multinational backgrounds might be compassionate or bitter about leaving one’s place of origin, more cosmopolitan, more knowledgeable about the world, more attuned to the pros and cons of various countries and political systems, more aware that human emotions anywhere tend to be alike rather than different, and so on.

The brilliant Nabokov was born in Russia and then lived in Germany before emigrating to America. Ending up in the U.S. is the template for many authors, and I’ll mention some of them first. But there are also a number of U.S.-born writers who went abroad, as well as serial-country authors who never lived in the fifty states. I’ll discuss some of those authors second and third. Meanwhile, I’ll mention here that Nabokov later left the U.S. for Switzerland.

German novelist Erich Maria Remarque also ended up in Switzerland, but lived a number of years in America after getting on the hate list of the vile Nazi regime. His last novel — Shadows in Paradise — is set in the U.S., but doesn’t measure up to his masterpieces such as the antiwar All Quiet on the Western Front, Arch of Triumph, and The Night in Lisbon.

There’s also Khaled Hosseini, whose riveting novel The Kite Runner was obviously inspired in part by his move from Afghanistan to America (with an in-between stay in France). English writer Aldous Huxley of Brave New World fame spent much of his life living in “The New World” (California, to be exact). Nigerian author Chinua Achebe (Things Fall Apart) resided a number of years in the U.S., too.

American-born authors living overseas for long periods? Two prime examples are Henry James (England) and Edith Wharton (France). Then there’s James Fenimore Cooper (in Europe from 1826 to 1833) and Nathaniel Hawthorne (in Europe from 1853 to 1860, when he strayed from his fiction’s usual New England settings to place The Marble Faun in Italy). Also, authors Richard Wright and James Baldwin went to France, partly to escape America’s virulent racism. Willa Cather lived in the U.S., but spent many summers at the only house she ever owned — in Canada (the setting of her little known but superb historical novel Shadows on the Rock). Another American author, Mary McCarthy, spent a lot of time in a second home in Paris.

Multinational authors with little or no time in the U.S. include, among others, Gabriel Garcia Marquez (Colombia, Venezuela, Spain, Mexico); Fanny Burney (England, France, England); Polish writer Joseph Conrad (who ended up in England); Kazuo Ishiguro (whose family moved from Japan to England when he was five); Russian writer Ivan Turgenev (who spent significant time in Germany and France); and Emile Zola (who left France for England to avoid jail after his brave role in debunking the anti-Semitic framing of Capt. Alfred Dreyfus).

Who are some of your favorite authors with lives lived in two or more countries? Why is this an advantage to a writer? Any disadvantages? (The box for submitting comments is below already-posted comments, but your new comment will appear at the top of the comments area — unless you’re replying to someone else’s comment.)

A note: After today, I will not post a new piece for perhaps three weeks or so for the usual summer reasons, but will pick up the pace starting in mid-August!

For three years of my Huffington Post literature blog, click here.

I’ve also written more than 50% of a literature-related book. But I’m still selling my part-funny Comic (and Column) Confessional memoir that recalls 25 years of covering/meeting cartoonists such as Charles Schulz (“Peanuts”) and Bill Watterson (“Calvin and Hobbes”), columnists such as Ann Landers and “Dear Abby,” and other notables such as Hillary Clinton, Coretta Scott King, and various authors. The memoir also talks about the malpractice death of my first daughter, my remarriage, and life in New York City and Montclair, N.J. — where I write the award-winning weekly “Montclairvoyant” humor column for The Montclair Times. I can be contacted at to buy a discounted, inscribed copy of the book, which has a preface by “Hints” columnist Heloise and back-cover blurbs by “The Far Side” cartoonist Gary Larson, among others.

175 thoughts on “Authors Who Lived in More Than One Country

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  2. Hi Dave! What an interesting topic. I’m still reading all the responses. I agree with ericpollock’s comments about “Innocents Abroad”; that was the first book that came to mind as I read your post. Mark Twain is, hands down, my favorite author. Another of Twain’s works, “Roughing It in the Sandwich Islands” also qualifies, since it was written in the 1860s long before Hawaii became our 50th state. Apparently, Samuel Clemens always dreamed of going back there someday, but never made a return trip. Now I’ll get back to reading some more comments ๐Ÿ™‚ I hope you’re having a wonderful summer, Dave.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for the kind words and great comment, Pat! Yes, many, many terrific responses — including yours! ๐Ÿ™‚

      “Innocents Abroad” is indeed a wonderful book — so interesting and funny. I haven’t read “Roughing It in the Sandwich Islands,” but it sounds absolutely fascinating. Hawaii almost a century before it became a state — wow! Even if Twain didn’t get back there, he certainly traveled much, much more widely than almost anyone else of his time.

      Hope your summer is going well, too! I’m still “on the road” (in Florida now), but will be back home in a couple of days and plan to post a new piece by early next week.


  3. P.P.S. It should have read:

    “I notice that HP mods have removed our entire conversations,” without “most.”

    It was a *most* gratuitously mean move, however. There, that’s where that word belongs.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Bella, I love that last paragraph in your P.P.S.!

      By the way, if you happen to be in touch in any way with “giftsthatpurr,” if you could mention this blog to her it would be most appreciated. But only if it’s easy for you to do. If you can’t, no problem!

      She and I had many a conversation about books, but she finally left HP just before I could tell her there about this new blog.

      And I forgot, in my other reply, to respond to your last paragraph. I finally moved in mid-June, and am indeed happy in the new place. ๐Ÿ™‚ Thanks for your good wishes about that!


      • Dave, unfortunately I don’t have contact info for Carolyn (“giftsthatpurr”). I hope she saw your last message, however, and will find her way here.

        I closed my HP account, BTW. The removal of our conversations was the last straw.

        Glad you’re happy in both of your new places, off- and on-line.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Thanks, Bella! Perhaps Carolyn will take a last brief look at HP, but I totally understand if she doesn’t (and totally understand anyone closing their account!). Whenever I’ve given HP an occasional look during the past few weeks, I’ve felt guilty about giving that site traffic. It’s galling how a (supposedly) “progressive” site treats people as bad or worse as the most reactionary corporation. ๐Ÿ˜ฆ


  4. Hi, Dave!

    I’ve finally made it here (although I’ve lurked a bit during my recent off-blog hiatus). What a great place it is, without the vicious and capricious moderation, for one. I notice that HP mods have removed our most entire conversations about George Eliot and Par Lagerkvist from your last post. I don’t know what explains such gratuitous meanness, other that gratuitous meanness itself.

    Anyway, there are so many great comments here it’ll take me a while to catch up. I noticed someone mention driving Joseph Brodsky to a reading in NY way back when and I gasped a little. Brodsky is one of my favorite poets (I’m listening to his poems-turned-songs in the Polish translation on a continuous CD loop in my car [along with Leonard Cohen’s CDs]).

    Another famous and close-to-my-language, if not heart, ex-pat poet is Czeslaw Milosz, a Polish Nobel winner who lived a good chunk of his life in the US.

    I’ll be off to read up on other people’s comments now, and will “see” you later.

    P.S. Hope you’re comfortably moved in now and fully enjoying summer in your new home.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks so much, Bella, for stopping by and commenting! I’m currently away at a family reunion, but am able to access the Internet at least once a day.

      Thanks, also, for your kind words about the blog! Yes, what a pleasure to have no moderation, to have comments post immediately, and to be able to be anonymous if one wants.

      I hadn’t realized HP had removed some comments (I’ve visited HP very little during the past couple of weeks). That’s awful. You posted some great comments. HP is indeed mean — either deliberately mean, or, if comment removals are glitches, mean in the sense of not caring enough to prevent or fix those glitches.

      I definitely have Joseph Brodsky on my to-read list now that others and you have mentioned him. And I appreciate the mention of Czeslaw Milosz, who I need to try one day, too.

      Hope you enjoy the comments! So many great ones — many from ex-HPers. ๐Ÿ™‚


    • Great call on Milosz ,certainly one of the more interesting poet / intellectuals of the previous century. I believe he lived the last few decades of his life in Cali but I don’t think he ever really left his beloved Lithuania.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Thanks, Donny.

        Brodsky called Milosz “one of the greatest poets of our time, perhaps the greatest.” That’s high praise indeed.

        You’re right that Milosz never really left Lithuania — such is always the fate of immigrants, I’d say; although he spent his last years split between CA and the most magical city in the world*, Krakow, where he died and is buried.

        *In my humble and totally unbiased opinion.

        Liked by 1 person

    • I am the fellow withe Brodsky story– In the early ’70’s, as an English major with good-enough grades, I was asked, along with a few others, to join a sort of welcoming/escorting committee for the department. Though I live in NYC now, in those daze I attended a small Midwestern liberal arts college, located about 100 miles from Chicago.

      Lovely to learn Brodsky has been set to music!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Oops — sorry, jhNY. I was on the road for 11 days, and only had occasional/spotty Internet connectivity, so I rushed a number of comments and messed up there. Joseph ROTH was mentioned under the blog, and my faulty memory momentarily forgot that Joseph BRODSKY was also mentioned so interestingly by you. All Josephs are not the same person. ๐Ÿ™‚

        Again, my apologies.


  5. Eric, another thread max-out!

    You wrote of Hemingway: “I also recommend his short stories. If you can get a copy of his โ€œThe Fifth Column and the First Forty-Nine Stories,โ€ you will see a great variety versatility and sophistication in his writing style, unlike the traditional view that his style was short, simple, and uncomplicated.

    The book covers a vast array of settings and covers many different times in his life in which he had lived in different locales.”

    My reply:

    Thanks Eric! You and jhNY have really whetted my appetite to read some of Hemingway’s short work. Great description of โ€œThe Fifth Column and the First Forty-Nine Stories”!

    As I also mentioned to jhNY, I’m away and have only periodic access to the Internet, but will hopefully see any reply you might make within 12-24 hours — and maybe sooner!


  6. Eric and Mary, I think the thread below maxed out again.

    Eric, you wrote: “Twain should be a mainstay in many tourism and travel departments in colleges and universities.”

    My reply: I agree! What a traveler that guy was, both in the U.S. and all over the world.


  7. Eric, I think we reached the physical limit of a thread we were conversing in, so I’ll reply up here!

    You wrote: “This idea of authors living in a foreign country could be stretched, perhaps, to include authors that have lived in other countries solely for the purpose of writing a book about that particular country. A good example might be Graham Robbโ€™s โ€œParisians: An Adventure History of Paris.โ€ That was definitely a whale of a book to read, at a fast-paced 500 pages. I am surprised that I remembered I read it several years ago. The book came actually came out about 5 years ago, I think.”

    My reply: Eric, you mentioned a great additional category of authors who have lived in more than one country. So many fiction and nonfiction writers, in doing their research, have temporarily relocated to other countries (sometimes for long periods).

    There’s also the act of moving to other states and towns, as one author famously did when placing himself next door to Sarah Palin. In a more recent case, there’s the writer who ended up next door to Harper Lee, and wrote the (poorly reviewed) book about the reclusive “To Kill a Mockingbird” author.

    That Paris book sounds excellent, and I love its title!


    • Bill Bryson wrote many interesting and comical non-fictional books travelling the world.. The book that II mentioned previously, “Parisians….” was an interdisciplinary book we (three teachers) had assigned students covering history, language, and literature.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I’ve heard a lot about Bill Bryson, but somehow have never read him.

        A book with enough elements to cross three disciplines — nice!

        My favorite travel book might be Mark Twain’s “Innocents Abroad.” Hilarious, as well as awe-inspiring in terms of the logistics involved in traveling so extensively (including to the Mideast) during the mid-1800s.


        • “Innocents Abroad” is definitely Twain at his best. I actually encountered many of the people he described, countless times upon my arrival in Korea , and now Japan. People have told me many innocuous and boring moot points about this and that in the country. It is definitely one of the best travel guides ever written. Thanks for reminding me of it.

          Liked by 1 person

            • I thought “Down and Out in Paris and London” by Orwell, and “A view of the World” by Norman Lewis were two of the best travel books I read. We read “Roughing It” and “Life on the Mississippi,” both by Twain, in class, and ,I didn’t want to remember class for a while on my short summer break.

              Liked by 1 person

              • Thanks, Eric! I really should read Orwell’s nonfiction one of these days. From what you say, and from what I’ve heard, it’s exceptional.

                I haven’t read “Roughing It,” but “Life on the Mississippi” was excellent — part travel book, part memoir, part history book.

                Glad you’re having a summer break, albeit a short one. Given that you also moved this year, I’m sure you could use a few days of relaxation!


                • Thanks Dave. I certainly deserve a vacation. Though some people may not think so. Twain certainly crossed over many genres adding wit, and sophistication to travel writing.

                  I have not read any of the novels Norman Lewis had written after many years of a successful journalism career. But, I do hope to, one day, read at least one.

                  Liked by 1 person

    • Elizabeth Gilbert went on a voyage of self-discovery that resulted in “Eat, Pray, Love”. I actually think she had a contract to write a book before she embarked on her journey. In any case, I guess she got more than she bargained for because she ended up with a husband!

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Rudiyard Kipling was born in Bombay now Mumbai and was taken by his family to England at a very young age. Ho wrote The Jungle book, The man who would be the King, Gunga Din and then so much more would fill a page. …Dave.
    What I read, Kipling`s parents called themselves Anglo-Indians. Later he went back to India again to Shimla. His writings are known to all.. In 1907, he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature, making him the first English-language writer to receive the prize, and to date he remains its youngest recipient. He was known for his prose and verse. So to fit your topic Dave..was he (Anglo ) Indian moved to England or an English Man born in India and traveled elsewhere and later moved to India ?

    “The silliest woman can manage a clever man , but it needs a very clever woman to manage a fool. ”

    ~Rudyard Kipling

    Liked by 1 person

    • Rudyard Kipling — excellent example of an author “of” more than one country. Thanks, bebe, for mentioning him in your interesting, wide-ranging comment!

      Robert Louis Stevenson had no connection to Kipling that I’m aware of (except for being sort of a contemporary), but I somehow thought of him when reading your comment. Scotland, the U.S., Samoa — he was definitely a multinational guy during his relatively short life.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Ernest Hemingway, Moveable Feast. Through the Red Cross right after high school he made his way to France,eventually to Italian front. Feast is a real escape through his pursuits gastronomic and just his overall joie de vivre being an ex pat in Europe. The Paris Wife is a good companion book from perspective of his first wife Hadley with whom he shared adventures in Moveable Feast. Highly advantageous to have lived in different countries,enhanced his adventerous life,his stories, his legacy.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for the great addition, Michele! Your last line said it all. Ernest Hemingway is definitely someone I should have included in my column. ๐Ÿ™‚ Spain and Cuba, too — Hemingway really did get around!


    • Hemingway was not the only writer, later famous, who drove an ambulance in WW1– Franklin W. Dixon, who wrote the Hardy Boys detective series, was another.

      Also– more famous than them both: Ambulance driver Walt Disney!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Wow — great information, jhNY! Thanks!

        Given that the character hadn’t been created yet, I guess Walt didn’t have a Mickey Mouse hanging from the ambulance’s rear-view mirror… ๐Ÿ™‚


        • Nope, no Mickey yet, but he was the sign painter and and illustrator among his band of drivers. He never saw action, as the war was over before he was shipped to France, but was, obviously, overseas in uniform as part of the AEF.

          Liked by 1 person

          • Thanks, jhNY! Sometimes one forgets that Disney had some artistic talent himself before he began farming out his work to (and exploiting) his talented employees. I knew a couple of cartoonists who worked as Disney animators, and, according to them, it wasn’t always a pleasant experience.


            • I am not surprised to hear it; would have been surprised to hear otherwise. It must be tough to work at the top shop on earth and feel used and under-appreciated, and possibly underpaid.

              Remember Fleischer Studios? Betty Boop, Gulliver’s Travels, Koko the Clown, Popeye? When the cartoonists in that shop tried to unionize, Max moved the operation to FL– and left the union types without jobs in NYC.

              As you know, traditional cartooning is so labor-intensive that somebody was bound to suffer– as usual, it was those who labored longest.

              Liked by 1 person

              • Well said! Yes, it’s not a surprise when people who become moguls act like moguls, though there are always some exceptions. Walt Disney, like Max Fleischer, was certainly anti-union, too.

                I once interviewed Hank Ketcham, who worked as a Disney animator (on “Bambi,” etc.) about a dozen years before he created the “Dennis the Menace” comic. He was one of the people who was hardly a fan of Walt.

                Animation is indeed labor-intensive, even in an age when it has become virtually all digital.


                  • Yes, I’m sure the animators are paid much less there. Perhaps even “Frozen” out of some benefits, too.

                    “The Simpsons,” for one, is known for being animated in Korea.

                    Thanks for your follow-up comment, JhNY!


  10. Dave, I haven’t read through all the comments but it occurs to me that it might be interesting to look at the patterns or reasons why writers have lived in more than one country, i.e. political exile, colonialism, accidents of war,
    personal reasons, etc. There are so many Irish writers who ended up in England, Spaniards who ended up in Latin America or France, Russian emigres in France and elsewhere, etc. One of the oddest is Nikolai Gogol, who lived for a long time in Rome. Maxim Gorky, of all people, lived for a long time in Italy also. Solzhenitsyn lived in Vermont, but tried to protect himself from any American contamination. It’s a subject worthy of a book unto itself.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Great point! My post could have been improved with additional brief references to why authors ended up in different countries. (I did it for Remarque, Wright, Baldwin, and Zola, but that was about it.) Glad you discussed that in your comment! And then there’s the matter of whether authors moved because of their writing, or for reasons independent of their writing. Yes, a book-worthy topic!


  11. I may be late to this column, but when I think of authors living abroad, my mind races to Hemingway in Cuba and France. And from there, I think of all the people Hemingway met in France: Stein, Joyce, Ezra Pound, Picasso, and Gris. I just tried to think of the movie “Midnight in Paris” but it took me a while to come up with the title. Hemingway in Paris was probably a “Golden Age” for literature.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks! It IS impressive how many writers (and other creative notables) end up in Paris. I wonder why? ๐Ÿ™‚

      Seriously, as someone who has visited that French city four times, what a place to live — even for a while. I wonder if Paris, perhaps along with New York City, is the most frequent destination for authors who are (temporary or permanent) expatriates.

      Speaking of Hemingway, I took out “For Whom the Bell Tolls” from the library yesterday. Never read it before. Have you? If so, what do you think of it?

      Great to hear from you, Eric!


      • My second word a typo on your new blog: Oh the shame, the shame! I will have to watch that more carefully. I wish I could blame my cat, but he is outside getting used to the new surroundings, too.

        “For Whom the Bell Tolls” was somewhat of a recurring staple in a few of my classes back in Korea in which, like all great literature, is fantastic on the first read, more meaningful on the second, and in the classroom, something to analyze to death. I loved everything about it, including reminding me of Romeo and Juliet.

        Liked by 1 person

          • Fixed that, too. Nice to be in control of my blog (unlike at HP), but I’ll never change anything unless the person who commented brings it to my attention. ๐Ÿ™‚

            Thanks for the kind words about the blog, Eric! I owe a huge debt of gratitude to you and all the other people who post terrific comments.

            Liked by 1 person

            • Paris has such a more “romantic” quality to it than New York which might be more “gritty” because of the commercialization and industrialization aspects of it. People probably imagine an open-air curb-side French cafe and someone munching on a baguette (?) more so than a city dweller eating a salad, soup, sandwich and a cup of coffee in a diner, both formidable images throughout history. Though “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” and “Midnight in Paris” could “duke it out” for best city titles. Writing a book in a romantic place may have its advantages.

              Liked by 1 person

                • Eric, I’ve also noticed that scrolling and dancing; many things digital seem to have their quirks. But, overall, I’m very happy with the way the blog works, and with how it’s not difficult to use for someone like me who has middling tech abilities!


              • Eric, you got those differences between Paris and New York City exactly right! I lived in NYC for 15 years and still visit it periodically to see family and friends, but, as much as I love it, it seldom evokes romantic feelings. Of course, as you know, various authors (Victor Hugo and others) have also touched on the less appealing aspects of Paris. For instance, Zola’s “The Ladies’ Delight” takes a devastating look at how a Wal-Mart-like department store wipes out mom-and-pop businesses and essentially wrecks an entire neighborhood. But even that novel also has a romantic relationship (between a not-rich woman and a rich man) that makes for some reading pleasure.


                • Crime, the underworld, drugs and prostituion ,have always played off on the romantic notions of Paris in an ironic, and in many cases, integral, way in novels. New York is definitely the beginning experience of many immigrant stories; Paris may also offer people going thhrough some life crisis another chance at reclaiming youth.

                  Liked by 1 person

                  • Well said, Eric! It certainly does get ironic when the beauty of parts of Paris is juxtaposed against the bad stuff that can happen there (or anywhere).

                    NYC is indeed part of many, many immigrant stories — and Paris is indeed a place to seek lost youth, renewal, etc. Which is one reason why the final Paris scene in “The Age of Innocence” is such a shocker. With that novel, Edith Wharton was not in the mood for a fairy-tale ending.


                    • This idea of authors living in a foreign country could be stretched ,perhaps, to include authors that have lived in other countries solely for the purpose of writing a book about that particular country. A good example mihgt be Graham Robb’;s “Parisians: An Adventure History of Paris.” That was definitley a whale of a book to read, at a fast-paced 500 pages. I am surprised that I remembered I read it several years ago. The book came actually came out about 5 years ago, I think.

                      Liked by 1 person

        • Loved your droll first paragraph, Eric! I just fixed the typo. I’m often doing that with my own replies. ๐Ÿ™‚

          Thanks for your expert/interesting/wry lines about “For Whom the Bell Tolls.” Sounds like I’m in for a literary treat, however tragic that novel might or might not be.


  12. I must go to one of my favorite authors, Neil Gaiman. He is originally from England. Many of his novels are set there. He moved to the US and now lives in a couple of different cities. Incidentally his wife Amanda Palmer, the musician, is from Australia and now lives in the US part time.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Geoff! Neil Gaiman is still on my must-read list because of your past recommendation. ๐Ÿ™‚ Meanwhile, I’m still working my way through James Fenimore Cooper’s wonderful “Leatherstocking” series that you also recommended, and today just started the (chronologically) fourth book: “The Pioneers.” One more to go — “The Prairie” — and I’ve read all five.

      Gaiman and his wife are quite a multinational couple!


      • I’m glad you’ve made it to “The Pioneers.” It is a solid book and an perfect example of the early 19th Century writing. The separation of the scene setting from the story. It also shows well with Cooper’s writing as a chronological change of American literature from the Continental style to the American style.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Thanks, Geoff, for the insights! I guess Cooper really WAS a transitional figure in American literature.

          It’s fascinating to see his style of writing in “The Pioneers” — which, as you know, was written first in the “Leatherstocking” series and was published early in Cooper’s career. The writing seems somewhat less polished than in his later books such as “The Deerslayer” and “The Pathfinder,” yet still very compelling. And, given that “The Pioneers” is set in the 1790s, I’m seeing a lot more of “civilization” (rather than the woods) — at least early in the novel.


        • Geoff, I just finished “The Pioneers.” I found the first half a bit slow, with not enough Natty Bumppo and Chingachgook. But the second half picked up greatly, and I can see why James Fenimore Cooper emphasized those two terrific characters more in the “Leatherstocking” novels he wrote after “The Pioneers.”

          Excellent environmental message, too, which gives the book a modern gloss.

          Poignant to see Natty and Chingachgook as older men, and I guess Natty will be even older in “The Prairie” — which I will get to soon!


        • Geoff, I just finished “The Prairie.” Loved it! Perhaps my second favorite of the series, after “The Deerslayer.” Natty Bumppo as an old man is as interesting — if not more interesting — than ever. And the novel has one of the most moving death scenes I’ve read in literature.

          I will miss James Fenimore Cooper’s work; I have to catch up on some other authors before I return to him. ๐Ÿ™‚


          • Yes It is one of the best written of the five. I enjoy it as its the wise old Natty from Pioneers with the polish of a seasoned writer.

            I also know how it goes finding the time to read more than one author you enjoy. It can get hard.

            Liked by 1 person

            • Well said, Geoff!

              After following Natty (under his different names) for four books, it’s fascinating to see him in his very old age in the fifth novel — and, as you say, in a novel written so well by a no-longer “rookie” writer.

              And, yes, trying to read various authors can be tough when one finds a single author one wants to fixate on for a while! I’m now reading Hemingway (“For Whom the Bell Tolls”), who I haven’t read much of before. His spare prose after Cooper’s wordy (but great) prose is quite a contrast. ๐Ÿ™‚


  13. Dave, I keep thinking of other authors. I believe that I have mentioned Gerald Durrell who spent part of his childhood on the Greek island of Corfu? His book recounting his time there is truly one of the funniest books that I have ever read. The book is a written from the youngster’s point of view and describes in side-splitting detail the shenanigans of a little boy often left to his own devices. I truly wish that I had taken the tour of Corfu when I was there because the house that Durrell and his family rented there was a part of the tour.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Mary! I do remember you mentioning Gerald Durrell a while back; my local library unfortunately didn’t seem to stock his work. From your description, his book sounds as funny as can be! ๐Ÿ™‚


      • I have a copy of “My Family and Other Animals” by Gerald Durrell. When you decide that you want to read it, just PM your new mailing address, and I’ll mail it to you.

        Liked by 1 person

        • That’s very generous of you, Mary. I would of course mail the book back to you as soon as I finished it. Will first give my local library one more try when I visit next month in hopes it’s no longer a Durrell-free zone. ๐Ÿ™‚


  14. Multinational authors? I’ll add a few:

    It was my privilege and honor to escort Joseph Brodsky by car to and from a poetry reading– 100 miles each way! He was, at the time ( about 1974), very recently emigrated from the USSR, and though he could read and comprehend English to some degree, he was very reticent to speak the language, and actually had a faculty member read his poems aloud.

    A few years later, he had trained himself to be one of the finest essayists of his time– in English! A most amazing second act, and much too short.

    Joseph Roth, my latest author-enthusiasm, was born in a tiny place in the old Austro-Hungarian Empire, which became a part of Poland after Versailles. He stayed in Austria, working as a newspaperman and novelist, until his services were no longer welcome, and lived in Paris for the remainder of his life– writing a lot, drinking more.

    Malcolm Lowry, lived mostly in Canada, though he was English-born, and educated. He also lived for a while in Mexico, his experiences there becoming the basis of much of his most famous novel, “Under the Volcano”.

    In the poetry department, two other authors: Ezra Pound and TS Eliot, each of whom lived large portions of their lives away from the country of their birth– though Pound was persuaded to return for some years for a postwar stint in a mental facility (St. Elizabeth’s, Wash., DC) as per court order after he made too-helpful broadcasts in Italy on behalf of the regime while living in Rapallo. Upon release, he moved to Venice.

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    • jhNY, that’s a GREAT list of multinational authors — along with fascinating, expertly told information about them. Thank you! Escorting Joseph Brodsky has to be one heck of a cherished memory.

      I was at the library today, and looked for Joseph Roth (based on you recommending him highly under my last post). Alas, nothing by him there at the moment, but I’ll look again next month!


    • Great stuff and as for the escort story I seem to recall you and I had a discussion where in you let on that you once met the incomparable Muddy Waters, also in the 70s so in a word JEALOUS ! Seriously though I stumbled on a collection of Joseph Brodsky’s essays in the early 80s and was floored ,the sense of life being lived under the greyness that was the USSR by the 50s with รฉlan could only be told by a poet/dissident and his wide ranging literary criticism is impeccable. It was here that I learned to love Anna Akhamatova and her poetry. The prologue to Requiem give’s me shivers even after countless readings ” Could one ever describe this ” .. ” And I answered yes, I can “…” Something like a smile slid across what had once been a face” . The topic at hand though ,Brodsky relayed a great story of another multi lingual writer ,his mentor the philosopher/Man of letters Sir Isaiah Berlin . When asked by mutual friends if the Don thought and spoke as quickly in Russian as he did in English the answer from the poet was ..Faster.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Yep, it’s all true. A guitar student of mine made Muddy Waters barbecued chicken whenever he came to DC, each time receiving the comment it wasn’t “hot enough”. The night (summer 1978ish) I accompanied him to the Cellar Door’s dressing rooms, with the chicken, my student had poured an entire standard sized bottle of tabasco sauce into his mixture– yet received the same comment– though the recipient’s eye was twinkling, which I think means the two had a long-standing joke between them, or perhaps, it was the power of tabasco. Drank beer and ate chicken with the man and his band and other guests between each set– and Mr. Waters played an extra slide solo in the last set for my benefit– a high point of my life, as you might imagine.

        Akhmatova– I’ve got to dig her out again, as she is a wonder, and a superb poet.

        Perhaps, have you not read him already, you might also enjoy Akhmatova’s friend, Osip Mandelstam,in particular his “Noise of Time”, an impressionistic reminiscence of his boyhood in St. Petersburg in the form of several interrelated essays. And if it’s still in print, the WS Merwin/Clarence Broown translated “Selected Poems”– my copy was put out by Oxford U Press in 1973.

        I’ve got an Isaiah Berlin book here someplace also, as yet unread. I do remember enjoying his articles and insights, if memory serves, in the “NY Review of Books”, if not the “London Review of Books”– it’s been a while. Did not know him as Brodsky’s mentor– glad to learn!

        Liked by 1 person

        • Fairly familiar with Osip Mandelstam’s poetry and essays but more so with his wife’s harrowing memoirs Hope Against Hope and Hope Abandoned . It is doubtful one can even begin to understand the dark side of Soviet Russia as it pertained to writers and intellectuals without reading Nadezhda’s pretty much unique works. While discussing the funeral of her friend and in an odd way rival Anna Akhmatova she mentions Brodsky as a serious and admirable young man but appears to have reservations about his poetry. Berlin is always worth reading whether his interesting political philosophy and theory of competing forms of liberty, his essays on Enlightenment and Counter Enlightenment thinkers or anything on the Russian writers he loved and knew so well. His famous essay The Hedgehog and the Fox contrasts the competing underlying philosophies in the works of Tolstoy and Dostoyevski to brilliant effect.

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  15. I forgot to mention that Richard Wright also lived on and off in Spain for about a year. He considered Spain to be, how can I say this, the meeting point of Africa and Europe. This was in the late 50s during his travel-writing phase.

    I just looked on my bookcase because I knew I had something of his that detailed his time in Spain …couldn’t remember the title though. Just found the book. The title is Pagan Spain.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Wow — Richard Wright seems to have lived in more countries than most expatriate authors. And he didn’t live an extraordinarily long life. Thanks for the additional info!


  16. Another author that came to mind the other night (and then leapt right out again before I could capture the thought) was Karen Blixen, aka Isak Denisen. Her book “Out of Africa” captures her time spent there and is a compelling read, even thought I had never heard of her until the movie. It turns out that I have a Readers’ Digest version of “Out of Africa” in my bookcase and read it long AFTER I saw the movie.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Mary, “Out of Africa” was a terrific book (and movie). Thanks for mentioning it! And it’s often VERY interesting to read a book after seeing the movie version. Sometimes the film is quite different. For instance, I saw the “Field of Dreams” movie before reading the “Shoeless Joe” novel and, if I’m remembering right, the book had some elements mentioning J.D. Salinger but the film didn’t. The reclusive “Catcher in the Rye” author probably filed a lawsuit, or threatened one!


      • That’s one of my favorite movies, Dave! I need to read “Shoeless Joe”. I didn’t even know there was a book. I think you’re right. There is no mention of Salinger in the film that I can remember.

        Liked by 1 person

  17. Richard Wright did live as an ex-pat in France, but he lived in other places outside of the U.S. as well. There was a period in the late 50s where he took an interest in nationalist movements. He briefly lived in London while writing, if my memory is correct, The Outsider.

    While living in London, Wright became involved in Pan-Africanism. During this time (mid to late 50s – early 60s), African countries were fighting for independence, and many black Brits (African and Carribean) were developing plans on how to end colonialism in their home countries. This exposure to these groups and their causes encouraged Wright to travel to Ghana, and he lived there for about 2 months.

    The places Richard Wright lived definitely influenced his writing post-Native Son, Uncle Tom’s Children, and Black Boy. The Outsider was completed in England; he wrote about his experiences in Ghana/Africa in the book Black Power; White Man, Listen! was written in France in response to the rejection by many in the Pan-African movement who were not too pleased with Wright’s criticism of Ghana.

    I know that most people only know Richard Wright’s 3 most famous novels, but the material that he wrote and published during his world travels is excellent too.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for all that interesting information! You are an expert on Richard Wright! I hadn’t realized how many countries Wright lived in. And he certainly had many twists and turns in his political life.

      Also, your point at the end is an excellent one — for Wright, Margaret Atwood, and various other authors: We often know them for their most famous books, when they also wrote other works that were often just as good.


  18. Dave, I’d like to mention once again Doris Lessing. I know I wrote about her in one of your HP articles regarding the versatility of some authors. Lessing was born in Persia (now Iran), then her family moved to South Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe),and eventually she left Africa to move to London in 1949. I’ve only read a couple of her novels, “The Golden Notebook” and “The Grass is Singing.” The latter is set in Africa.and is obviously informed by her experiences there. Most recently I read a book of essays,”Time Bites (Views and Reviews),” many of which were pieces of literary criticism, including essays about DH Lawrence, Austen, Tolstoy and Woolf. She seems to me to be an extremely interesting character and a brilliant writer. When I was checking my facts about where she lived, I came across the fact that she is the oldest person to receive the Nobel Prize for Literature, at age 88. Each time I mention her in one of these posts,I vow to read more of her novels, but my to-be-read pile is sky-high as it is.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Kat Lib, thanks for all that great information about Doris Lessing, much of which I didn’t know. Quite a background and career she had. I need to read more of her work — though, like you, my to-read list is way too long. ๐Ÿ™‚

      By the way, I was at the library today and took out a mystery novel by an author you and littleprincess had recommended under my previous post. It’s “Busman’s Honeymoon” by Dorothy Sayers. Have you read it? Can’t wait to try that writer!


      • Yes, I’ve read all of her mystery novels more than twice, with the possible exception of “Five Red Herrings,” which I found to be a bit of a boring read. “Busman’s Honeymoon” is actually the final Lord Peter mystery, although she did start another one, which was completed by a different author. This novel was a pay-off for all of us Lord Peter/Harriet Vane fans who were happy to see them finally get married. I believe it was subtitled, “A Mystery with Romantic Interludes.” There was a four novel arc about this relationship,starting with “Strong Poison,” followed by “Have His Carcase” and “Gaudy Night.” There were a couple of other novels during this time,”Murder Must Advertise” (Sayers worked in advertising for a while) and “The Nine Tailors” (which is fascinating if you find church change ringing of bells interesting, which I did). My personal favorite is “Gaudy Night,” because it featured Harriet Vane, an early woman graduate of Oxford and a mystery writer, as was Sayers herself. Although there is no murder in this book, there is still a mystery,but it is more about the place of women in society and what is doing “one’s proper job,” whatever that may be. As to “Busman’s Honeymoon,” without a spoiler alert, the ending of the novel ends with the murderer suffering the death penalty, which sends Lord Peter into a depression over causing it. Sorry, I didn’t mean to go on so long, but Lord Peter is one of my favorites, although if you read the earliest books, he’s more like Bertie Wooster than in later books. I feel much the same about Sayers as I do Lessing, in that Sayers is an extremely interesting character, and brilliant (she did a translation of Dante’s “Paradise Lost.”

        Liked by 1 person

        • Wow — you are indeed a Dorothy Sayers devotee and expert! Thank you, Kat Lib, for all the information and insights.

          Interesting that I randomly chose the final Lord Peter mystery; I hope the book can stand alone (to some degree) without my having read the previous ones. ๐Ÿ™‚


        • Hi, Kat Lib! It turned out that I have a copy of “Strong Poison” at home that I’ve never read! So, I’ll read that during the next few weeks rather than “Busman’s Honeymoon.” Seems like the more chronological thing to do! ๐Ÿ™‚


          • Hi Dave, I must make a correction. I should have said that Sayers did a translation of Dante’s “Divine Comedy,” not “Paradise Lost.” I must admit that I’ve never read either in their entirety.

            Good, I’d agree that “Strong Poison” would be a better place to start. I must admit that it’s been quite a while since I read any of Sayers’ mysteries. I may have to pull them off my shelves and see if they still are as enjoyable to me as they once were. I think I may have said before that I’ve always been a big fan of books written during the Golden Age of Mystery,including Josephine Tey, Ngaio Marsh, Margery Allingham. Agatha Christie, Philip MacDonald, among others,leading to authors such as Simenon, Chandler and Hammett.

            Liked by 1 person

            • Thanks, Kat Lib, for the follow-up comment! Sounds like Sayers had many varied skills! I never read “Divine Comedy,” but did read “Paradise Lost” for a high school or college class. Couldn’t get that absorbed in it, but I might feel differently now.

              Glad reading “Strong Poison” first is a better approach. Nice to get validation for that from a mystery expert!


  19. Dave! Canโ€™t believe I havenโ€™t read any Nabokov! Maybe itโ€™s that youโ€™re on the East coast and Iโ€™m on the West Coast. On second thought, couldnโ€™t Sarah Palin see Russia from her porch? Okay, that excuse doesnโ€™t work.

    My favorite transplants are any who moved to France, if only long enough to report on it from their perspective. โ€œParis to the Moon,โ€ by Adam Gopnik (America to France), and โ€œA Year in Provence,โ€ by Peter Mayle (England to France), come to mind. Ah, I am transported! Love your column โ€“ a vicarious vacation!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Well, I’m no Nabokov expert. ๐Ÿ™‚ I read “Lolita” many years ago (I think it was assigned in college), and had very mixed feelings about it for the obvious reasons. Then “Pale Fire” recently, and that was it!

      Ha ha — your Sarah Palin line! Maybe she saw Russian dressing from her porch, after her husband made a salad?

      Yes, going to France — so appealing. I’ve been to that country four times myself and, while I know it’s by no means a perfect place, it sure is wonderful to visit. Thanks, Cathy, for mentioning those two books — and for the great comment!

      Liked by 1 person

        • Well, the first two times without an interpreter (pre-marriage) and the next two times with. ๐Ÿ™‚ The latter visits were more relaxing, but it’s sort of a fun challenge navigating a country without any language help.

          Thanks for the follow-up comment, Cathy, and I loved your clever/punny “I am transported” line in your previous comment. ๐Ÿ™‚


  20. During the late 60’s and 70’s, I read Native Son and Black Boy by Richard Wright, such powerful books about racism. Wright was born in Mississippi, had a writing career in NYC, and later moved permanently to France. I made a point of visiting his grave in Pere Lachaise, the famous cemetery outside of Paris. His urn is located in the Columbarium, but I searched and searched and couldn’t find him. Finally, I sat down on a step and there he was. He’s got the very bottom corner on a wall next to a stairwell. It was a powerful metaphor for the injustice, racism, and disrespect this brilliant writer endured.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Those are indeed two powerful books, Suzette. Glad you got a chance to visit Richard Wright’s final resting place, but such a disappointment that the urn was so hard to find. A powerful metaphor indeed — and probably an example of how France, though less biased again African Americans than the U.S., was/is certainly no stranger to racism.

      Thanks for the memorable comment!


    • Very nice, Wright wasn’t the only black artist to escape the states to find respect and respect in France, James Baldwin along with the fascinating Josephine Baker spring to mind. Your poignant metaphor reminds me of the famous tale where Alice Walker searches out Zora Neal Hurston’s final resting place in Florida .

      Liked by 1 person

  21. Hi, Dave. Along the same lines as Nabokov, how about Joseph Conrad, who learned English in his twenties. A reverse spin on this might be English-speaking/writing authors who “re-invent” language for their novels:
    Anthony Burgess (A Clockwork Orange).
    Russel Hoban (Ridley Walker).

    Liked by 1 person

    • In a way, Conrad’s English writing ability was even more impressive than Nabokov’s, because I believe Nabokov knew a lot of English as a boy.

      “Re-inventing” language for a novel is so impressive. It can make for a challenging read, but worth the effort when an author (such as Burgess) is a great one.

      Thanks, Joe, for another very interesting and informative comment!


  22. Howdy, Dave!

    โ€” Who are some of your favorite authors with lives lived in two or more countries? Why is this an advantage to a writer? Any disadvantages? โ€”

    F. Scott Fitzgeraldโ€™s โ€œTender Is the Nightโ€ most likely would be a vastly different work had its American author missed his connection with the expatriate phenomenon in France during the Roaring โ€™20s. In terms of Fitzgeraldโ€™s work/life balance, the experience may have been a positive factor (an advantage) for the former in the short term and a negative factor (a disadvantage) for the latter in the long term.

    The rich may be different from you and me, but the responses to certain stimuli within our internal organs are similar for all of us.


    J.J. (Alias MugRuith1)

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, J.J, for mentioning F. Scott Fitzgerald! You’re absolutely right that without that author’s travels, the European milieu in “Tender Is the Night” wouldn’t have been so authentic and that novel (if he ended up writing it) would have been very different.

      I might prefer “Tender Is the Night” over “The Great Gatsby.” The latter is a masterpiece without a wasted word, but the sprawling, uneven “Tender” packs a more powerful emotional punch.

      Your comment packed quite a punch, too, especially the pre-“Alas” paragraph.


  23. George Orwell comes to mind. He was born in India (long before its independence), served as a policeman in Burma (which inspired “Burmese Days”), moved to London in 1927 and to Paris in 1928, moved back to England, went to Spain to fight in the Spanish Civil War (recalled in “Homage to Catalonia”), and then returned to England.

    Liked by 1 person

    • George Orwell — absolutely! I should have thought of him when I thought of Aldous Huxley, because they of course wrote two of the most famous dystopian novels of the 20th century. “1984” — the nightmare dystopia, and “Brave New World” — the (supposedly) pleasurable dystopia.

      Thanks, Maggie, for the stellar one-paragraph description of Orwell’s many fascinating travels. (Similar to a couple of Hemingway’s sojourns.)


  24. The three authors that immediately come to mind are Pearl Buck, E. M. Forster, and Ernest Hemingway. They were amazing authors who captured the spirits of the countries they visited. Pearl Buck told us all we knew of China during the early twentieth century. E. M. Forster shed light on the stratified society of India during the British Raj and the Indian independence movement. Hemingway lived in Paris, Cuba, Key West, and was a war correspondent in Europe. His amazing body of works are beyond description.

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      • Hemingway lived life LARGE! He was an amazing man, for sure. It’s a pity that he took himself away from us. I guess he didn’t want to dotter off into senility and be less than he was???

        Liked by 1 person

        • Mary, after seeing your comments, I couldn’t resist taking out a Hemingway novel — “For Whom the Bell Tolls” — from the library today. What do you think of that one? I’ve only read “The Sun Also Rises” and some short stories by Hemingway. Thanks!

          (Hi, HopeWFaith!)


          • Dave, I’ve never read “For Whom the Bell Tolls” so I can’t wait to hear your commentary. I have only dabbled in Hemingway. The book that I remember most of all is “Islands in the Stream” which was published after his death. It was found among his papers and was intended to be published as 3 shorter works. He draws heavily from his own experiences in the book. I think I told you that my oldest brother read everything that Hemingway, Faulkner, and Steinbeck ever wrote. I’m not nearly so well-read on these 3 great authors.

            Liked by 1 person

            • Thanks, Mary! I’ll let you know what I think! The library also had “Islands in the Stream” (which you of course just mentioned) and “To Have and Have Not.” I sort of mentally flipped a coin. ๐Ÿ™‚


              • I’ve read “Islands in the Stream”, and though there are moments, I doubt Hemingway would have put it out without much more work done on it. “To Have, etc.”, on the other hand, is a good one– as is “For Whom the Bell Tolls”– by comparison, and on their own merits.

                Personally, I believe it is necessary to read Hemingway– as much as you can take on– if you wish to understand American 20th century fiction. He is one of the most influential stylists and theme-makers the nation has ever produced. A giant of his art, like Picasso, whose acclaim was once so universal that it became necessary for following generations to undervalue and sideline him so as not be crushed by the shadow of his achievements.

                Ironically, I am only a more or less casual admirer– I save my outright idolatry for others– Stendahl, for one.

                Liked by 1 person

                • Thanks, jhNY, for all your expert thoughts on Hemingway! I read “The Sun Also Rises” and some of his short stories years ago, and liked but didn’t love those works. So he fell off my reading list. I’m also not attracted to his hyper-macho attitude, which is why I haven’t read much of Norman Mailer either.

                  But I’m giving Hemingway another try, and if I like “For Whom the Bell Tolls” a lot, I’ll move on to “To Have and Have Not” — and perhaps avoid “Islands in the Stream.” ๐Ÿ™‚

                  You’re right that Hemingway was hugely influential on 20th-century American literature. Very eloquent words about that by you.

                  But, like you, my idolatry goes to other authors — George Eliot, the Brontes, and Steinbeck among them.


                  • The Nick Adams stories, if you haven’t read them already, are a nice way of getting a taste of the Hemingway prose style and mostly revolve around the outdoors life– the macho quotient is smaller there, somewhat.

                    Of the 3 biggies of US novel fictioneers of the WW1 generation– I admire Faulkner most, enjoy Fitzgerald most, and think that Hemingway was a great stylist foremost, whose flat prose seems to the unwary to be without artifice, if not artless, and so seemingly accessible to imitation that imitation proved irresistible to many. His writing talent, good looks and canny press relations pushed him to the forefront among his author-contemporaries, whenever he was not able to put himself there by means of his own zeitgeisty embodiment of the masculine. Writing at an early age for newspapers can school an ambitious man in something very useful: what it is that is liable to attract newspaper interest.

                    Liked by 1 person

                    • The Hemingway short stories I read were not the Nick Adams ones, so I’ll keep those in mind!

                      Faulkner, Fitzgerald, and Hemingway are certainly a VERY big three of that era! I’ve read Fitzgerald the most of that trio, and need to read more Faulkner after finally getting around to his riveting “Light in August” last year.

                      As you eloquently stated, jhNY, sometimes “simple” prose is indeed not so simple, and can be very difficult to emulate. On a children’s-book level, a rough comparison could be the way many authors try a Dr. Seuss style, but can’t quite pull it off.

                      And that’s a great insight on how Hemingway’s newspaper background (at a time when newspapers were THE medium) was not only an excellent training ground for writing but for “PR” as well.


                  • I am fond of “To Have and Have Not” mostly for its first section, in which, to my way of reading, Hemingway shows all his imitators in the hard-boiled school that he can do what they learned to do from him only better. And yes, the racism depicted is pervasive and repellent to modern taste– but it’s in the book because it was in the air in such places and among such people as are in the book.

                    Further, “To Have and Have Not” reminds readers that, for better or worse, Hemingway was a modernist, who also felt obliged to prove his modernist bona fides with examples out of his own craft from time to time– even if the results were mostly derivative of other modernists. The results, nonetheless, were meant to compete amongst those that toiled on the cutting edge of fiction..

                    Finally, Hemingway, after a silence that lasted eight years, during which the world endured the Great Depression, felt obliged to say Big Things about the socio-economic order. That he was clumsy, and even simplistic in his attempt should not entirely eclipse the fact that he made an earnest effort to respond to the international crisis at hand with the tools of his trade.

                    And reviews centering on the moral lessons or lack of same within, which dogged “To Have and Have Not” from its pub date, are worth what most such reviews are worth: very damn little, reflective , as they are, most of all, of the middlebrow prejudices of the reviewers and their notions as to what constitutes progress and development in a writer’s career.

                    It’s an uneven, ambitious book meant to show up the competition in the novel-writing game, an attempt by a champ to re-establish his dominance over the field in several marketing categories– among them, hard-boiled fiction, social realism, and for the high-brows, experimental writing.

                    Not his greatest stuff, but definitely worth a read.

                    Liked by 1 person

                    • Thanks, jhNY! Sorry it took me a while to reply; I’m “on the road,” and just got Wi-Fi for the first time since this morning.

                      A bravura essay by you on “To Have and Have Not” and more! Absolutely fantastic. After I read “For Whom the Bell Tolls,” I’ll make “To Have and Have Not” my next Hemingway novel.

                      Internet a little spotty here, so I’ll keep my reply short. Hopefully, better Wi-Fi where I’ll be tomorrow evening. ๐Ÿ™‚


                    • jhNY, to address one of your great points — about racism — you raised a fascinating topic. Is an author racist, or is he or she depicting racism, or both?

                      Also, we tend to give more of a pass to certain authors writing in decades or centuries past (vs. recent authors) when they are racist, sexist, homophobic, anti-Semitic, etc. We love their work, and hold our noses at the intolerant parts of that work. Such is the case with Hemingway (who you of course mentioned), Dickens, Jack London, etc., etc.


                  • If you do decide on more Hemingway, I recommend the Nick Adams stories over “To Have and Have Not”, despite my write-up of yesterday, given mortality and the call of so many books as yet unread…

                    In Paris now? Haven’t been in decades. Hope you and yours have a wonderful time, and get plenty to eat and drink!

                    Liked by 1 person

                    • I also recommend his short stories. If you can get a copy of his “The Fifth Column and the First Forty-Nine Stories,” you will see a great variety versatility and sophistocation in his writing style, unlike the traditional view that his style was short, simple, and uncomplicated.

                      The book covers a vast array of settings and covers many differnt times in his life in which he had lived in different locales.

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • Thanks for the recommendation, jhNY! I’ll see if my local library has a collection of the Nick Adams stories. I’ll look before I die — i.e., this summer. ๐Ÿ™‚

                      Not in Paris now, though I’d love to be! At a reunion of my wife’s family, in North Carolina. (One of my wife’s relatives gave me a present of a puzzle picturing the covers of novels!) Am I remembering correctly that you have some North Carolina in your background?


                  • Didn’t see your NC question till today– sorry.

                    Yep. Born in Durham NC, but only because there was no local hospital in Chapel Hill till a year of so after my birth. At age six, we moved to Raleigh. Age ten, I began my career in politics: campaigning for Jack Kennedy, and Terry Sanford, who became governor. Was invited to his inaugural, where Bobby Kennedy spoke. I even took a picture of him with my new Brownie!

                    Was very fortunate that my father in those days was so gregarious and curious about the locals and the locale. Got to know, such as a small boy could, Bascolm Lamar Lunsford, who founded the Azalea Festival and wrote “Good Old Mountain Dew”, Manly Wade Wellman, who wrote popular histories and boy’s books, as well as detective and science fiction for the pulps, and Richard “Mac” MacKenna, author of “The Sand Pebbles”– a book that deserves an audience today.

                    Moved to TN at age 11.

                    Liked by 1 person

                    • Thanks, jhNY, for confirming your North Carolina connection and for the recollections of your very memorable family/childhood experiences — including the political ones. Do you still have that RFK photo you took?

                      My wife’s family reunion was at the beautiful Fontana Village resort in the Smokey Mountains of western NC, just a few miles from the Tennessee you moved to. On the way back, after visiting my mother in Florida, we took 95 up eastern North Carolina. Not sure how far from Durham, Chapel Hill, and Raleigh we were!


        • He feared the ravages of cancer, and had no illusions as to his chances of doddering off, given the diagnosis. He was, by that point, arguably less than he had been already.

          Liked by 1 person

          • Maybe that’s the best way to go in a case like that. Hemingway certainly didn’t lack courage. I’ve also read that he was harassed by the U.S. government in his later years, which probably didn’t help.


          • I have never heard that he had a diagnosis of cancer! I read that he suffered from depression and from the effects of the medication he was given. That, along with his years of heavy drinking left him in no condition to organize his thoughts and write. He was also subjected to electroshock therapy for his depression. He also suffered from hemochromatosis (an inability to properly metabolize iron) which may have caused his confusion and paranoia.

            Liked by 1 person

            • And I, now that I’ve read your reply, realize that I have only “heard” of that diagnosis over the years sometime, and have never looked into its accuracy, which now that I’ve looked it up via the google, appears to be a widely held notion, yet one that does not make it into the wikipedia bio, though the hemochromatosis does…

              I will cease to repeat this belief until I see it corroborated in fact.

              Thanks for the correction!

              Liked by 1 person

  25. Coincidentally, I just read ‘All Quiet on the Western Front’ a few weeks ago. I’m hosting a film series ‘100 Years of World War I on Film’ to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the beginning of WW I. ‘All Quiet on the Western Front’ begins the series next Monday, exactly 100 years to the day (July 28) since the first declaration of war. Remarque escaped Nazi Germany but unfortunately not his sister, who was beheaded. They were so upset at him for eluding their reach that his sister was the closest they could get. Thomas Mann also escaped Nazi Germany and lived in California for much of the rest of his life. Two Brits who also ended up in California were Aldous Huxley (whom you already mentioned) and Christopher Isherwood. Isherwood wrote for Hollywood a bit. His novel ‘A Single Man’ is set in California. Evelyn Waugh also lived in LA and their funeral industry inspired his novel ‘The Loved One.’ So there were plenty of Americanized Brit authors for a few years in the mid-20th century.

    Liked by 1 person

    • That IS a coincidence, Brian! Congratulations on hosting the film series!

      “All Quiet” is a marvelous antiwar novel, and the Nazis certainly didn’t like anything that questioned war. As you note, they vented their fury horrifically on Remarque’s sister. Undoubtedly something that influenced the pessimism that’s quite prominent in many of Remarque’s gripping novels.

      Thanks for mentioning several other authors who ended up in the U.S. Among British writers, W. Somerset Maugham and P.G. Wodehouse also spent time in America.


    • Fascinating ,where exactly is the film series being held? A side note Christopher Isherwood of course wrote a book of semi fictional sketches of his time in Germany before WW2 entitled I Am a Camera that are a bit better known as the play then movie they became… Cabaret. So Dave in this topic I’ve gotten to allude to two of my three favorite popular musicals, I wonder if there is a expatriate story associated with West Side Story?

      Liked by 1 person

      • “I wonder if there is a expatriate story associated with West Side Story? ”
        If only Puerto Rico were a country, you could cite members of the cast (though fewer than might be expected)….

        Liked by 1 person

        • Great points, jhNY! As you allude to, the “West Side Story” play and movie back in the day certainly had some whites playing Hispanic roles — not a rare occurrence at that time.


  26. Two names occur to me on first reflection, Joseph Conrad he lived in England and Poland plus published in both languages and the great I.B. Singer also Polish by birth who before the war emigrated to the US and lived in NYC. The interesting thing is he never wrote in either tongue but was in fact the pinnacle of Yiddish literature. On the one hand his stories couldn’t be more parochial and insular with their peculiar superstitions and very specific references to Jewish culture . But on the other hand, as the most famous Yiddish character ever who was the creation of another author might say ,his stories of love, sex, fear, greed ,betrayal ,faith ,loss of faith, humor ,death and a deep love of the sensory aspects of life are universal. By the way I am assuming you knew that was Tevya the Dairyman I referenced above, PBS ran Fiddler two weeks ago and I can never take a pass on watching again.

    Liked by 1 person

          • Yaa…you remembered ! That is the picture of my birdbath I displayed couple of years ago. I simply love it, inside got rusty and I tried very diluted Clorox , later used soft cloth and managed to scratch it up. Just other day I sprayed “scrubbing bubbles” keeping my fingers crossed. Left it like that overnight and now all the rust marks gone. Wish I did it then , oh well.

            Oh BTW have you watch BBC`s Sherlock…if not I highly recommend absolutely fantastic .

            Liked by 1 person

            • How could I forget your beautiful lavender? It looked like something from a home and garden magazine:)The next time you have a stubborn stain like that, try baking soda paste or vinegar. My husband doesn’t cook that often, but he has a tendency to scorch pots/pans when he does. He tries to soak them in hot sudsy water…doesn’t work. My little spray bottle of white vinegar usually does the trick.

              I haven’t really kept up with TV too much because of my work and class schedules. The only series I’ve been watching faithfully is History Detectives on PBS. I set the DVR to record while I’m gone, and I watch the show the following day, or wait until the weekend. I have two episodes to catch up on this weekend: the disappearance of Glenn Miller, and the mystery surrounding the death of Jimmy Hoffa.

              Liked by 2 people

              • Thanks Dave for creating another atmosphere where old friends can exchange pleasantries we used to have that going in your`s and Dr. Barker`s thread and HP completely destroyed that..we miss her so much. We always enjoyed that you joined us in the conversation.
                It is there loss now so many better new sites out there who really needs them ?
                I did send an e to our another dear friend whom I met in your thread years ago.

                Anon…I forgot completely of baking soda and vinegar, now since the inside got scratched up I was thinking going to store and get some grey painting. On second thought I should leave it alone , I need to think..
                Now as I type a handyman is here to pressure wash the outside deck..can`t wait and see the new look it`s been two years since we did that.

                Have not watched History detectives, watch a lot of Nature , now the new one is” My Wild Affair”…but the endings are always gut wrenching . But if you ever into Sherlock that is a series to watch.

                Liked by 1 person

                • You’re very welcome, bebe, and thanks for the kind words! I’m also greatly enjoying that at least some of us who used to converse at HP have reunited here.
                  HP indeed destroyed things for many bloggers (such as Cara) and for many commenters.

                  I hope even more people join in here! (If that happens, a lot of it will be due to your generous efforts.)

                  Meanwhile, HP has lost a lot of talented people and undoubtedly a lot of traffic, though the site may now be too big and corporate to care!

                  Liked by 1 person

                  • HA…I beg to differ…hardly any traffic, couple of fantastic staffs..still some great blogger Dennis Merritt Jones simply awesome. But I refuse to give up my privacy to satisfy their business is nothing more than that.When it is only about profits they lose their identity and self respect.
                    Oh BTW…I looked went to LIVE and when I clicked all the wrong kind of bells started ringing…I decided to reboot…so much for that.

                    But we have moved on..and here you have gathered other excellent writers from other places, good for you !.
                    Thanks again ๐Ÿ™‚

                    Liked by 1 person

                    • Thanks, bebe! ๐Ÿ™‚

                      Yes, there are still some excellent HP bloggers (a few are columnist friends of mine) and some of the staffers (such as moderator Jan Ryan) were very friendly. I hope Jan still has a job there; I imagine some/all of the moderators were let go when Facebook began “hosting” all the comments?

                      I agree that privacy became a HUGE issue after HP’s deal with FB. For safety reasons, employment reasons, and so on, many people understandably preferred to comment anonymously on politics and such in an HP format rather than by name on FB.

                      Liked by 1 person

                  • Dave , since I started this conversation I might as well vent now and get it over with. Stephanie one senior staff the first one came to my mind, Jan was great. Yaa..let them all go..
                    The posters are the ones helped HP to built the way it is now so many were there since 2005 and most have removed themselves. One and only forpeace ( I used to call her darling of HP) comes to my mind and I know she would not mind dropping her name in here.

                    And FB ? So many are fake ones I am sure you could tell.

                    So there I said it…breathing in and out LOL…..

                    Liked by 1 person

                    • With HP, venting is necessary! A progressive site with an amazing commenting community in effect tells the commenters (who had a huge part in building the site, as you note) to take a hike if they didn’t like all the awful, profit-driven changes. Losing commenters like you, forpeace, and others should have been a devastating wake-up call to HP, but, again, HP and AOL really didn’t care.

                      I never interacted with Stephanie, but I know she was very helpful to you and others. Such a shame if she, Jan, and others lost their jobs. Hopefully, at least some were transferred to other HP or AOL jobs.

                      Yes, many of the FB accounts for HP commenting are fake, but HP doesn’t seem concerned about that as long as the HP/FB deal is lucrative, as I suppose it is.

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • Cleverly expressed, jhNY!

                      Yes, she does seem fixated on sleep and relaxation as she flogs her latest book — and seems clueless about how she sounds to others. As you allude to, the misery she and AOL inflicted on staffers, bloggers, commenters, and readers in general was hardly relaxing to them. Many probably lost some sleep after being treated so contemptuously.

                      Personally, she is very friendly and charming, but… You certainly got a taste of how HP was run when your commenting problem was ignored for months and months. I still remember how it was finally fixed just a couple days before that awful comment-format change last December.


    • Yes, Conrad is a MAJOR example of a multinational author — and it’s amazing that he wrote so superbly in what was not his native language.

      Thanks so much for bringing up Singer. I finally read him a year or so ago. It was a collection of short stories, and they were exceptional. As you note, specific yet universal.

      “Fiddler on the Roof”! Saw it a LONG time ago on Broadway. An absolute classic.


    • Donny, you had mentioned Nadine Gordimer’s “July’s People” under my previous column. Couldn’t find it in the library today, so I took out a Gordimer novel almost at random in order to try that renowned author. It’s called “My Son’s Story.” Have you read it? Thanks for whetting my interest in Gordimer’s work!


    • IB Singer wrote a few stories set in the US also– “The Seance” comes to mind.

      One day at the Salvation Army here in NYC, I bought a book, and when I got it home, a folded piece of heavy paper fell out from the front cover– it was a poster advocating the freeing of Soviet Jews, and there on the back– IB Singer’s autograph! I still treasure it today.

      His elder brother Joseph, though less read today, has also been translated into English from Yiddish, and is worth seeking out.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Wow — what a find, jhNY! I love hearing things like that. One doesn’t expect the back of a poster to be autographed.

        Ah, the lesser known but still very talented writer brother. Another example of that is Robert Serling, who didn’t have the pizazz of his “Twilight Zone”-creating sibling Rod, but did write several better-than-average novels (often with aviation themes).


  27. One of my favorite authors, Charlotte Brontรซ, comes to mind. She and Emily went to school in Brussels as young adults to improve their language skills. Charlotte eventually became a teacher at the school but was very unhappy and lonely there. She developed feelings for Constantin Hรฉger, the head of the school. Finally Charlotte returned to England permanently, but she wrote Hรฉger several letters (he tore them up, but his wife literally sewed them back together – which I found very strange!) and her experience was at least part of the inspiration for her novels “The Professor” and “Villete.”

    I have to say while I’ve read “Jane Eyre” several times and “Shirley” once, I have never been able to get into either “The Professor” or “Villete.” I’ve always wondered what Charlotte’s life and writing career would have been like if she had never gone to Belgium.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Lily, thanks for mentioning the Brontes! We think of them as leading such reclusive lives (and they did for much of their lives), but there was indeed that Belgium interlude.

      The wife sewing the letters back together? That IS strange. Reminds me a bit of the actions of June, in James Fenimore Cooper’s “The Pathfinder,” when her husband Arrowhead is interested in Mabel and June thinks Mabel might be interested in Arrowhead.

      I’ve never read “The Professor,” but, like you, I was underwhelmed by “Villette.” Good but not great.

      Yes, if Charlotte Bronte hadn’t gone to Belgium, and developed feelings for a man there, her life and writing could have been much different. Life has so many fateful paths taken and not taken.


      • Hi Dave, thanks for the link ๐Ÿ™‚

        I don’t often pay a lot of attention to where an author was born or where they come from, and had no idea that Aldous Huxley was English. So thanks for that. I also can’t believe that someone other than you was the first to mention Jane Eyre! As always, love reading your blogs, and the comments that follow, but I don’t always have a lot to add. Congrats on the new site. Wishing you lots of success

        Liked by 1 person

        • You’re welcome, Susan, and thanks for your very kind words about the blog and for your engaging comment! Yes, someone mentioning “Jane Eyre” before me was a sobering experience. ๐Ÿ™‚

          Huxley’s early novels (such as “Point Counterpoint”) were English to the core, but some of his later books (such as “Island”) had a more American feel to them. And his “Brave New World” (like Orwell’s “Nineteen Eight-Four”) seemed to come out of a kind of worldview rather than a specific “country view.” So I can totally understand Huxley’s English background not being obvious.

          Thanks again for writing!


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