On Hemingway’s Girl, Mariella, and Fame: A Discussion
Here at Great New Books, we are reading and discussing author Erika Robuck’s novel, Hemingway’s Girl. And since it’s the 3rd week of the month, we’re having a giveaway for our next month’s book pick for all who leave a comment at the end of this post! Details below. Now, for discussion of our great September book pick, Hemingway’s Girl:
The Effect of Names:
Did any of you notice Mariella’s name as you read? I imagine some of us speak Spanish, like Mariella and her family (I do), and as I read, it occured to me again and again how appropriate Mariella’s name is for her character. Did you catch it, too?
Dissection in Spanish: Mar = Sea, Ella = Girl, and i or y = and
So: Mariella = Sea and Girl, or less literally, Girl of the Sea
As the story goes on, her name becomes more and more a part of her character, her decisions, and the effects her character has on others, including Hemingway.
Q 1: Did you notice any other double meanings with names and characters in Hemingway’s Girl? How did Mariella’s name fictionally effect Hemingway’s future work?
The Effect of Fame:
I loved in last week’s interview when Erika talked about the current-day actors who would play her characters in a movie: Ryan Gosling for Gavin, Camilla Belle for Mariella, and George Clooney for Hemingway himself.
When reading Hemingway’s Girl, I often thought about Mariella and her reactions to Ernest Hemingway. He was famous, wealthy, and quite the ladies’ man. A lot like George Clooney in real life, I think. For a poor Cuban-American girl, it must have been something to interact with Ernest Hemingway on a daily basis.
Here, from the first chapter, Mariella’s impression from when she meets Hemingway for the first time in the novel:
“At his side was Ernest Hemingway, sunburned and smiling from the boat. His dark hair was disheveled from the wind and his white teeth flashed beneath his mustache. She felt a jolt go through her and couldn’t help but smile …”
And later, in chapter four, Hemingway’s effect on Mariella:
“Mariella stepped up to the door of her house with a smile on her face, thrilled to have cash for the family and for her secret stash, and warm from something else, the warmth of belonging. Aside from the fishermen at the dock, she hadn’t felt the goodness of being part of a group in a long time. She’d watched Papa, his friends, and herself reflected in the mirror behind the bar and thought that to any outsider, she looked like she belonged with them. Hell, she felt like she belonged with them…”
What if you were nineteen again, and caught someone like George Clooney’s eye and he asked you to work in his home on Lake Como, ride on his boat with him, go to lunch and on vacations with him. Can you imagine?
Q 2: What do you think attracted Hemingway to Mariella? How do you think Mariella handled her brush with fame? If it were you in her shoes, how would you have handled her situation?
So, we’d love to hear from you — any of your thoughts on Hemingway’s Girl, or anything in answer to the questions raised in Q1 or Q2.
All comments entered below before Tuesday, September 25th will enter you to win a personalized & autographed copy of our October book pick (chosen by you by vote!), Shine Shine Shine by Lydia Netzer. A huge thank you to Lydia Netzer for offering to autograph and personalize the book for the winner! If you help spread the word about Great New Books and Hemingway’s Girl on Twitter or Facebook or by recommending it to a friend, we’ll enter you 2 times in the giveaway (be sure to mention it in your comment). The winner will be announced here next week.
Thanks, and we look forward to hearing your thoughts on Hemingway’s Girl at Great New Books!