Hemingway's Suitcase by MacDonald Harris,published by Simon and Schuster,1990,reviewed by J.S.Bradford
What ever happened to Hemingway’s suitcase (packed with his unpublished short stories) which his wife, Hadley, had the incredible misfortune to lose in the Gare de Lyon in 1922? Hemingway’s Suitcase, the vastly intriguing novel by MacDonald Harris, was initially reviewed in The New York Times Book Review by Maggie Paley. This was June 17, 1990. Judging by recent reviews and reader interest in The Paris Wife by Paula McLain, the mystery has lost little of its appeal for dedicated devotees of the Paris Era.
When Nils-Frederick Glas, a sophisticated Los Angeles dilettante, mysteriously produces a selection of manuscripts suggesting the nuances of Hemingway’s original style, his family and associates, including his son who is a literary agent, are left pondering the key question. Are the manuscripts the original lost stories or are they artfully constructed forgeries? A lot depends on the outcome. If the stories are originals, a time capsule has been discovered revealing a repository of lost art literally worth millions. It’s not an easy question to answer, primarily due to the amazing skill of the author who creates a tantalizing array of motives and potential outcomes. Do yourself a favor and explore the mystery for yourself. You won’t be disappointed.
MacDonald Harris, by the way, is a pseudonym for Donald W. Heiney who served in the Navy during World War II. He received a doctorate in comparative literature from the University of Southern California. Mr. Heiney taught at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City from 1953-1965 before accepting a professorship at the University of California in Irvine where he co-directed the fiction writing program from 1973 until he retired in 1991. He died in 1993 at the age of 71. Were Mr. Heiney still alive, he would, no doubt, be interested in knowing that the mystery of the missing suitcase remains unsolved but surely as compelling as ever.
~Reviewed by J.S. Bradford