Tag Archives: Virginia Woolf


By Michael Lederer

I first read Hem­ing­way at col­lege in 1978, an intro course called Mod­ern Exis­ten­tial Lit­er­a­ture. The Old Man and the Sea was like look­ing at an x‑ray to see how we are put togeth­er. The Sun Also Ris­es was a look at how we fall apart. It was also a siren’s call: “This way, fol­low me.”

Pho­to cred­it: Kata­ri­na Led­er­er: Michael Led­er­er with Hemingway’s stat­ue, Havana, 2013

In spring 1980, I had five hun­dred bucks, a Eurail Pass and a back­pack, and two months in which to see as much of Europe as I could. From Paris, fol­low­ing the char­ac­ters from Sun, the train took me as far as Bay­onne and from there it was thumb out. An old man named Jesus picked me up in a white car and drove me up the moun­tain to Pam­plona. As a boy dur­ing the San Fer­min fes­ti­val, he had shak­en Hemingway’s hand. When I got out of the car and he shook my hand, I was con­vinced if not a torch at least a spark had been passed.

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