Review: Ernest Hemingway “Islands in the Stream”

“Ne jau jūra ir tā, ko tu gribi aizmirst. Pats zini, ka jūru tu vienmēr esi mīlējis un nekur citur negribētu dzīvot. Izej verandā un pasaties uz jūru. Viņa nav nedz nežēlīga, nedz ļauna .. Tur viņa ir, un viņu šūpo vējš un šūpo straumes, bet vējš un straumes cīnās tikai pa virspusi, dziļumos valda miers.”

“Jūra ir jūra, un miers ar viņu.”

2. jūlijā pirms 60 gadiem Ernests Hemingvejs nošāvās. Palika gandrīz pabeigta grāmata. Ceturtā sieva Mērija manuskriptu atrada starp 332 citiem rakstnieka atstātiem tekstiem un aiznesa uz izdevniecību. Deviņus gadus pēc vīra nāves romāns “Salas straumē” tika izdots ar viegliem labojumiem. Vai pats Hemingvejs būtu labojis vairāk, varam minēt. Svītrot jau patika. Bet grāmata ir laba, un jūras daudz.

Jau diezgan sen Ernests Hemingvejs sāka rakstīt jūras triloģiju par trim posmiem galvenā varoņa, mākslinieka Tomasa Hadsona, dzīvē. Sākumā daļu virsraksti bija “Jūra jaunībā”, “Jūra prombūtnē” un “Jūra kā jūra”. Vēlāk autors tos mainīja uz “Bimini”, “Kuba” un “Jūrā”. Bija arī ceturtā daļa, taču Hemingvejs to noņēma, pārrakstīja un publicēja atsevišķi kā stāstu “Sirmgalvis un jūra”.

Tomass Hadsons ir gleznotājs. Viņš dzīvo uz mazas Bahamu salas mājā, kas izaug no klints. Mākslinieks vēro jūru, laika apstākļus un dzīvo viens. Vissvarīgākā ir gleznošana. Kad darbs padarīts, tad – dzeršana. Kad ir vasara, atbrauc viņa bērni, trīs dēli no divām sievām. Visu vasaru Tomass Hadsons ir laimīgs un cenšas nedomāt par dienu, kad puikas aizbrauks. Tikai ar striktu darba disciplīnu tad varēs klusināt smeldzi, kas paliks.

Tomass Hadsons ir tuvs rakstnieka atspulgs. Arī Hemingvejs dzīvoja Bimini un Kubā, makšķerēja Golfa Straumē un vasaras vadīja ar trim dēliem no divām sievām. Grāmatā vecākais dēls atceras nabadzīgo, bet skaisto bērnību Parīzē starp slaveniem rakstniekiem. Tie ir autobiogrāfiski fragmenti. Vienīgi “Salas straumē” Hemingvejs saviem (Tomasa Hadsona) bērniem liek traģiski iet bojā. Dzīvē tas tā nebija, paldies Dievam, bet rakstnieka gājiens drosmīgs. (Tas ir arī brīdis, kad romānā iezogas melnāks humors. “Viņš apsēdās dziļajā, ērtajā krēslā, iedzēra un pārliecinājās, ka cilvēks nevar lasīt “The New Yorker”, ja nupat miruši tie, kurus viņš mīlējis.”)

Grāmatas otrajā daļā Tomass Hadsons dzīvo Havannā, viņam ir atmiņas, kaķi, un pienākums: ir Otrais pasaules karš un gleznotājs dienē Kubas ūdeņos. Trešajā daļā Tomass Hadsons medī pazudušu vācu zemūdeni, pasakaini pamana dabu un mirst stoiski kā varonis. Lai gan biezās grāmatas pēdējais teikums vēstī mazliet ko citu: “Ne sūda,” Viljs sacīja. “Savu mūžu tu neesi sapratis nevienu, kas tevi mīlējis.”

Ernesta Hemingveja “Salas straumē” (1970) var paņemt no Jūras bibliotēkas gan oriģinālvalodā, gan latviski.

“The Islands in the Stream” by Ernest Hemingway is originally published in 1970. This Vintage edition is released in 2017 and can be borrowed from the Sea Library. Photo by Beach Books.

“Let’s not think about the sea nor what is in or under it, or anything connected with it. Let’s not even make a list of what we will not think about it. Let’s not think of it at all. Let’s just have the sea in being and leave it at that.”

“It wasn’t the sea you wanted to forget. You know you love the sea and would not be anywhere else. Go on out on the porch and look at her. She is not cruel or callous .. She is just there and the wind moves her and the current moves her and they fight on her surface but down below none of it matters. Be thankful that you are going out on her again and thank her for being your home. She is your home.”

On July 2, sixty years ago, American writer Ernest Hemingway shot himself. Among all else he left a nearly finished book. His fourth wife Mary had found the manuscript among 332 other texts left by the writer and brought it to a publisher. Nine years after her husband’s suicide, in 1970, “Islands in the Stream” was released with a few edits here and there. Would Hemingway edit a lot more? We can only guess. But the book is good, and the sea is inside it.

In 1946 Ernest Hemingway started to work on a sea trilogy about three different stages of life of a protagonist, artist Thomas Hudson. He returned to writing the book in 1950 and 1951. Three parts of the novel were originally titled “The Sea When Young”, “The Sea When Absent” and “The Sea In Being”. Later he changes them to “Bimini”, “Cuba” and “At Sea”. There was also a fourth part, but Hemingway took it away, finished and published as a story “Old Man and the Sea”.

Thomas Hudson is a painter. He lives on a Bimini island in the Bahamas in a house that has grown out of a cliff. The artist watches the sea, loves to observe the weather and lives mostly alone. Most important thing for him is to paint. When the work is done, he drinks. When it is summer, his kids come to stay: three boys from two wives. All summer long Thomas Hudson is truly happy and tries not to think about the day when his boys will have to leave again. Then only a discipline and hard work will sooth the sadness and loneliness, that will remain.

Thomas Hudson is nearly a mirror image of the writer himself. Hemingway lived on Bimini and in Cuba, too, he fished in Golf Stream and spent his summers with three sons from two wives. In the book the eldest boy remembers his poor, but beautiful childhood in Paris among famous writers. Those are autobiographical moments. Except in “Islands in the Stream” Hemingway kills his (Thomas Hudson’s) children: they die one by one in tragic accidents. That didn’t happen in real life, thank God, but it certainly is a brave step for a writer. (It is also a moment when a black humour enters the book. “He sat in the deep and comfortable chair and drank his drink and learned that you cannot read The New Yorker when people that you love have just died.”)

In the second part of the book Thomas Hudson lives in Havana and what he has are memories, a lot of cats, and his duty: it is the Second World War, and the painter serves in Cuban waters. In the third part of the novel Thomas Hudson is hunting down a lost German submarine, notices nature in the most wonderful way and dies like a stoic hero. Although the last line in the big book tells a little bit different story: “Oh shit,” Willie said. “You never understand anybody that loves you.”

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