Posted in Female Author, Short Story

Deal Me In, Week 23 ~ “Papa at Ketchum”


Hosted by Jay @ Bibliophilopolis

“Papa at Ketchum” by Joyce Carol Oates

Card picked: King of Hearts
From: Wild Nights!: Stories About the Last Days of Poe, Dickinson, Twain, James, and Hemingway

Thoughts: I have a confession to make: I haven’t read any Hemingway. There’s a big early 20th century hole in my literary education and Hemingway has fallen through it. I also have a preconceived notion of Hemingway, that he is the ideal of machismo. This doesn’t really endear him to me despite the literary merits of For Whom the Bell Tolls or Farewell to Arms.

Joyce Carol Oates’ “Papa at Ketchum,” set during Hemingway’s final days in Ketchum, Idaho, doesn’t do anything to change my opinion. She paints Hemingway in strokes of self-centeredness, misogyny, and a hunter’s blood-lust. It’s age that has taken him down a notch, although he still believes he seduced one (or maybe two) of the nurses as the Mayo Clinic where he’d recently undergone treatment. In general, this isn’t a pleasant story. It’s long. It rambles. It’s a curious story on which to end this anthology. (I’ve now read the first and last of this collection. I have the middle three to go.)