Islands in the Stream
By Ernest Hemingway
(Scribner, Hardcover, 9780743253420, 448pp.)
Publication Date: July 8, 2003
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First published in 1970, nine years after Ernest Hemingway's death, Islands in the Stream is the story of an artist and adventurer -- a man much like Hemingway himself. Rich with the uncanny sense of life and action characteristic of his writing -- from his earliest stories (In Our Time) to his last novella (The Old Man and the Sea) -- this compelling novel contains both the warmth of recollection that inspired A Moveable Feast and a rare glimpse of Hemingway's rich and relaxed sense of humor, which enlivens scene after scene.
Beginning in the 1930s, Islands in the Stream follows the fortunes of Thomas Hudson from his experiences as a painter on the Gulf Stream island of Bimini, where his loneliness is broken by the vacation visit of his three young sons, to his antisubmarine activities off the coast of Cuba during World War II. The greater part of the story takes place in a Havana bar, where a wildly diverse cast of characters -- including an aging prostitute who stands out as one of Hemingway's most vivid creations -- engages in incomparably rich dialogue. A brilliant portrait of the inner life of a complex and endlessly intriguing man, Islands in the Stream is Hemingway at his mature best.
Ernest Hemingway did more to change the style of English prose than any other writer of his time. Publication of The Sun Also Rises and A Farewell to Arms immediately established Hemingway as one of the greatest literary lights of the twentieth century. As part of the expatriate community in 1920s Paris, the former journalist and World War I ambulance driver began a career that led to international fame. Hemingway was an aficionado of bullfighting and big-game hunting, and his main protagonists were always men and women of courage and conviction who suffered unseen scars, both physical and emotional. He covered the Spanish Civil War, portraying it in the novel For Whom the Bell Tolls, and he also covered World War II. His classic novella The Old Man and the Sea won the Pulitzer Prize in 1953. Hemingway was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1954. He died in 1961.