In 1996, Rene Villarreal returned to Cuba to retrieve his memoir of his life with Ernest Hemingway at the Finca Vigia. Sadly, he learned that the manuscript and photographs had been lost. Determined to tell his story, Villarreal, together with his son Raul, set about rewriting the account of how he came to be Ernest Hemingway's majordomo, confidant, and friend - his Cuban son.Hemingway, called El Americano by the Cubans, moved into the Finca Vigia, an estate outside of Havana, in 1939. He allowed the village children to play on his property, and they soon became fixtures, caring for his pets, performing odd jobs, and running errands. Hemingway recognized Rene as especially responsible and attentive and made him household manager, or majordomo, in 1946 when Rene was only seventeen.For the next fifteen years, Rene ran the Finca, tending to Hemingway and his wife, Mary, and their visiting family and distinguished guests. Villarreal's clear recollections offer up humorous stories of escapades and adventures with Hemingway as well as insightful comments on the writer's work habits, moods, passions, and friendships.
He also writes of Cuba before and after the revolution, capturing so well the sense of place and time. Scholars and readers of Hemingway worldwide will be caught up in this compelling story of a great friendship and will find insight into this complicated, fascinating, brilliant writer.
Buy Hemingway's Cuban Son book by Rene Villarreal from Australia's Online Independent Bookstore, Boomerang Books.
(229mm x 152mm x 18mm)
Kent State University Press
Publisher: Kent State University Press
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Author Biography - Rene Villarreal
Rene Villarreal now lives in Union City, New Jersey, after moving from Cuba in 1972. His son Raul Villarreal is an artist and currently lives in Verona, New Jersey.