Hemingway in Africa: The Last Safari
Combination biography/travelogue/interpretative study focused on Hemingway’s lifelong love affair with Africa, inspired by magazine articles on Theodore Roosevelt’s 1909 safari. Ondaatje traces Hemingway’s footsteps on his two safaris through Kenya, Tanzania, and Uganda, detailing information on the author’s adventures as well as on his own journey. Ondaatje reads “The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber” as a study in fear that ultimately challenges the meaningfulness of the macho hunting guide and big game hunting. He interprets “The Snows of Kilimanjaro” autobiographically to reveal Hemingway’s authorial anxieties over squandered talent and opportunities and argues for the influence of Henry James and F. Scott Fitzgerald on this later story. Ondaatje sees the elephant flashback in The Garden of Eden as a transitional point demonstrating Hemingway’s increasing sensitivity toward animal suffering. Explains that by his second safari, Hemingway’s view of Africa had also changed dramatically. True at First Light documents the author’s newfound and genuine interest in the different tribes and cultures he meets while on safari. Combines Hemingway era photographs with those taken during Ondaatje’s journey.