In the fall of 1948, Ernest Hemingway and his fourth wife traveled for the first time to Venice, which Hemingway called “absolutely god-damned wonderful.” A year shy of his fiftieth birthday, Hemingway hadn’t published a novel in nearly a decade when he met and fell in love with Adriana Ivancich, a striking Venetian girl just out of finishing school. Here Andrea di Robilant re-creates with sparkling clarity this surprising, years-long relationship, during which Adriana inspired a man thirty years her senior to complete his great final work.
Hemingway used Adriana as the model for Renata in Across the River and into the Trees, and continued to visit Venice to see her; when the Ivanciches traveled to Cuba, Adriana was there as he wrote The Old Man and the Sea. The illuminating story of writer and muse—which also examines the cost to a young woman of her association with a larger-than-life literary celebrity—Autumn in Venice is an intimate look at Hemingway’s final years.
About the Author
Andrea di Robilant was born in Italy and educated at Columbia University, where he specialized in international affairs. He is the author of A Venetian Affair, Lucia: A Venetian Life in the Age of Napoleon, Irresistible North: From Venice to Greenland on the Trail of the Zen Brothers, and Chasing the Rose. He lives in Rome.
“A saga that grips and enthralls from start to finish . . . [di Robilant] has researched every scrap of information and gossip about this curious menage.” —The Times (London)
“The final turbulent decade of a life . . . di Robilant captures the full panoply of quirks and conflicts that often made Papa and those closest to him miserable. Lovers, ex-wives, friends, publishers, even complete strangers were forced to dance to the tune he piped . . . A diligent researcher of primary and secondary texts, [di Robilant] in this instance has a treasure trove of material.” —Michael Mewshaw, The Washington Post
“Effortlessly and expertly explores the secret desires, successes, and depressive obstacles that shrouded Ernest Hemingway’s final productive years.” —Michael Thomas Barry, New York Journal of Books
“Andrea di Robilant’s well-written book reads like a novel, not a biography, and avid readers, of any genre, should secure a copy for their own journeys this summer.” —Wayne Catan, Idaho Statesman
“Rich with new material, some based on Italian sources, di Robilant’s lively and affecting double portrait brings a fresh perspective to the much-examined life of an all-too-human writer.” —Steve Paul, Booklist (starred review)
“A sensitive recounting of a writer’s doomed fantasy.” —Kirkus Reviews
“One of the most wrenching and scandalous love stories in all of literary biography . . . di Robilant reconstructs their tale with remarkable precision and a wealth of unpublished materials . . . what emerges is an ample, finely detailed fresco of the last stage of Hemingway’s life, a kaleidoscopic succession of relationships, passions, trips, editorial disputes, drinking binges, set against the backdrop of northeast Italy . . . [Autumn in Venice] has all the intrigue and emotion of a novel.” —Pietro Spirito. Il Piccolo (Italy)
“An evocative and alluring tale of love and death . . . In his effusive letters to Adriana, Hemingway laid bare his extremely passionate, generous, and contradictory nature.” —Mirella Serri, La Stampa (Italy)