Saturday, September 22, 2012

Five best tales of stormy couples

Amanda Bennett's books include In Memoriam (1997, with Terence B. Foley), The Man Who Stayed Behind (1993, with Sidney Rittenberg), The Death of the Organization Man (1990), and the recently released memoir, The Cost of Hope.

For the Wall Street Journal she named a five best list of tales about stormy couples, including:
Travels With Myself and Another
by Martha Gellhorn (1978)

Take but one look at classic photos of Ernest Hemingway as Big Game Hunter and you'll realize whose voice he preferred the sound of. Martha Gellhorn, the second of his four wives, always hated the thought that, having married him, she was doomed to be a footnote in his biography. After reading this volume of remembered travels, I might vote him a footnote in hers. Glamorous, witty, fearless, poisonously acerbic, selfish and probably mean, she was one of the few female foreign correspondents for the rest of us to daydream about. She did the Spanish Civil War, took a rickshaw to see Zhou Enlai in hiding on the eve of the revolution; and rode a dynamite boat carrying supplies to D-Day. She hates pretty much everything here: The German delegation that bumps her from the last room in a hotel consists of "a short man who resembled an irritated warthog and two subservient underlings." Imperial and demanding herself, she rails against despotism, imperialism and racism: "Always delighted to grab any privileges I can get, I don't like the sense of being privileged by law." She does a hilarious cameo of her spouse, who appears only as the Unwilling Companion, or U.C.: "He was able to sit with a bunch of men for most of a day or most of a night or most of both a day or a night... all of them fortified by a continuous supply of drink, the while he roared with laughter at reminiscences and anecdotes. It was a valid system for him."
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue