“Now it is pleasant to hunt something that you want very much over a long period of time, being outwitted, out-manœuvred, and failing at the end of each day, but having the hunt and knowing every time you are out that, sooner or later, your luck will change and that you will get the chance that you are seeking. But it is not pleasant to have a time limit by which you must get your kudu or perhaps never get it, nor even see one. It is not the way hunting should be. It is too much like those boys who used to be sent to Paris with two years in which to make good as writers or painters, after which, if they had not made good, they could go home and into their fathers’ businesses. The way to hunt is for as long as you live against as long as there is such and such an animal; just as the way to paint is as long as there is you and colours and canvas, and to write as long as you can live and there is pencil and paper or ink or any machine to do it with, or anything you care to write about, and you feel a fool, and you are a fool, to do it any other way. But here we were, now, caught by time, by the season, and by the running out of our money, so that what should have been as much fun to do each day whether you killed or not was being forced into that most exciting perversion of life; the necessity of accomplishing something in less time than should truly be allowed for its doing.”

Hemingway- The Green Hills of Africa.

Peter Coetzee

Peter Coetzee

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10 Responses

  1. “There are some things which cannot be learned quickly, and time, which is all we have, must be paid heavily for their acquiring. They are the very simplest things and because it takes a man’s life to know them the little new that each man gets from life is very costly and the only heritage he has to leave”. E.H.

    and so, we hire guides…

      1. Well….not anymore (guides) at least. I owe a debt to a few great ones, and then there are the total wankers. I have such mixed feelings about Hemingway. Have you read Hemingway’s Boat? Its a weighty volume, a well researched collection of stories and anecdotes surrounding his acquisition of Pilar, his adventures chasing billfish, and the abuse suffered by those who were foolish enough to fish with him.

    1. Hemingway hunted with P.H. Percival, a guide who had also hunted with another legendary sportsman, none other than Teddy Roosevelt.

  2. Thanks Peter – just read the book again (third time). He loved his hunting and fishing but this is the greatest safari adventure ever – from the days of Selous. Always amazed me how common Black Rhino were, but he was obsessed with the Kudu Bull (the grey ghost of Africa). I must agree.
    I often wonder what he would think of the Africa of today.

  3. “The leaves yellow on the cottonwoods floating on the trout streams and above the hills. The high blue windless sky . . . Now he will be part of them forever.” —EH -Memorial for a friend killed in a hunting accident

  4. Peter! How very relevant this is. I’ve missed your technical and ambitious insight into fly fishing of late. I see there are other prospects on your radar but it’s always good to read your fishy posts, even if they’re purely quotes from Hemingway. I always look forward to reading material on this site above any other. Cheers.

  5. Thanks Al & Dave. Ray, I stopped reading Hemingways boat half way through. it ruined him for me. I like him the Hemingway in my head, not the ass that took pride in ruining other peoples days at sea. He is now half fictional to me.

  6. been hunting elk here in CO for six years now, my son has one, I have none..

    Hemingway was an ass in life, but he did write some good true things, for which much can be forgiven..

    I’m with Jim Harrison on this,

    http://www.theparisreview.org/interviews/2511/the-art-of-fiction-no-104-jim-harrison

    I always think of an artist in terms of his best work, which I think is what he deserves. If he can do this, if he’s taken the trouble, then this is what I think of him. The before and after is always there, but so what? He wrote well and nobody should wish to take it away from him.

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