Ernest Hemingway Story From 1956 To Be Published For The First Time
It has only been read by scholars and academics over the past 62 years, but A Room on the Garden Side will finally be published in the summer edition of Strand Magazine. It was previously held in the Library of Congress and the John F Kennedy library in Massachusetts.
Set in the Ritz hotel in Paris, the story is narrated by a character named Robert, who drinks and talks about “the dirty trade of war” with a group of WWII soldiers due to leave the city the next day following Nazi occupation.
“I did it to save the lives of people who had not hired out to fight,” the narrator says. “There was that and the fact that I had learned to know and love an infantry division and wished to serve it in any useful way I could … I also loved France and Spain next to my own country. I loved other countries too but the debt was paid and I thought that the account was closed, not knowing the accounts are never closed.”
Robert shares the nickname “Papa” with the Esquire legend, but that’s not the only semi-autobiographical element within the story. Twelve years earlier, the former war reporter drove to the same hotel in a Jeep and told the gathered soldiers that he was there to liberate them from German occupancy. When they informed him that they had already left, he ordered champagne for everyone. He later said that, “when I dream of afterlife in heaven, the action always takes place in the Paris Ritz.”
Kirk Curnutt, a board member of the Hemingway Society, said that “the story contains all the trademark elements readers love in Hemingway”.
“Steeped in talk of Marcel Proust, Victor Hugo, and Alexandre Dumas, and featuring a long excerpt in French from Charles Baudelaire’s Les Fleurs du Mal, the story implicitly wonders whether the heritage of Parisian culture can recover from the dark taint of fascism,” Curnutt wrote.
While you wait, why not check out Hemingway’s first story for our very own magazine: Marlin Off The Morro.
This story originally appeared on Esquire.co.uk.
* Minor edits have been made by the Esquiremag.ph editors.