Hemingway’s Havana – A Perfect Coffee Table Book
While not as popular as it once was, there’s something elegant and inviting about a carefully chosen coffee table book. It beckons you to embark on a very personal journey to some mysterious, beautiful and faraway land. Given even a moment of being left to themselves, it’s a rare guest who can resist the urge to indulge.
A trip to any quaint old used bookstore will yield the usual photographic essays that are somewhat entertaining. But to find that volume that has magic within its covers and can awaken the adventurer within, ah, that is rare. You must be persistent in the hunt. And have luck or serendipity or fate on your side. When you do, you’ll know it as you know the look in the eye of your soon-to-be lover. For me, as in love, that hasn’t happened but a few times in my lifetime. So I was quite surprised at my response to “Hemingway’s Havana: A Reflection of The Writer’s Life in Cuba” by Robert Wheeler.
A Journey To Cuba
Robert shares an impressive array of images of Cuba. From the windswept shores to the heart of the culture, he’s captured all of what any serious tourist would want to see. Somehow, each photo seems to an electric yet gentle connection to the words and life of Hemingway, who spent some 20 years of his life in Cuba.
The photographic presentation alone is enough to make this book worthy of any coffee table. But the magic only begins when you dive into the narrative. For that, I was unprepared. Virtually all of my prior table top adventures had far to short descriptive passages referring to the accompanying image. Passable, but not satisfying. Not so with “Hemingway’s Havana.”
A Journey Back in Time
I swear that I had not indulged in any mind-altering substance, legal or otherwise. I also swear to you that I could smell the sea air as Mr Wheeler caressed the images with the story of Hemingway’s life in Havana and Cuba. And I could sense the musty, pungent fragrance of the streets, the sights and sounds and smells just as Hemingway might have experienced them. I was drawn in like I’m very rarely drawn into a book. It almost seemed that a door to that time and place where the likes of “The Old Man And The Sea” was penned was about to open.
Congratulations to Mr. Wheeler on creating this masterpiece. It’ll be on my coffee table for a long, long time.