I enjoyed parts of Write Like Hemingway: Writing Lessons You Can Learn from the Master by Dr. R. Andrew Wilson. What I didn’t really learn from it was how to write like Hemingway. Not really.
The book is a study of Hemingway and his writing – from his education and early influences at the Kansas City Star newspaper, to tutelage under Gertrude Stein and Ezra Pound and other notables. There are many quotes from Hemingway throughout. The analysis of Hemingway’s prose is focused most on his short stories.
The things I found valuable were taken from quotes from Hemingway himself (The Papa Says sections) and I loved the analysis of Hemingway’s writing from someone so knowledgeable about the man and his canon of work. There is a lot of focus on the short, succinct sentence; the less-is-more, Iceberg Theory style that makes Hemingway’s work so easily identifiable.
Some of the advice absolutely flies in the face of other popular reference books for writers and at other times, it was simplistic and obvious. Write Like Hemingway reads like a book meant for those just starting out as writers and despite the title and subject matter, it is not written in Hemingway’s style.
There are various exercises throughout to help you apply what you’ve read in the previous chapter to your own work, but I doubt Hemingway actually did any exercises like this.
Write Like Hemingway is a fine analysis of Hemingway’s writing and an entertaining read. If you want to read about what Hemingway said about writing, I suggest the book, Ernest Hemingway on Writing, edited by Larry W. Phillips. If you really want to learn to write like Hemingway, read Hemingway.