Dimensions: 464 pages, 9.3 × 6.22 × 1.5 in
Published: April 22, 2014
Publisher: Farrar, Straus And Giroux
The following ISBNs are associated with this title:
ISBN - 10: 0374172994
ISBN - 13: 9780374172992
Read from the Book
July 1936: Madrid Arturo Barea lay on the brown, pine-needled floor of a forest in the Sierra de Guadarrama, northwest of Madrid, with his head in his mistress’s lap. It was midafternoon on Sunday, July 19, and the resinous air was loud with the sound of cicadas. Tall, thin, with slicked-back dark hair, the eyes of an El Greco saint, and the mouth of a sensualist, Barea was drowsy with the heat, the wine he and Maria had had with their picnic lunch, and the lovemaking afterward; he longed to close his eyes and give himself over to sleep. But Maria had other ideas. She wanted to talk. Not, this time, about how much she wanted him to leave his wife and children and make an honest woman of her after six years as his secretary and occasional bedmate, a subject that usually ended in stalemate and tears. Today she wanted to know where Barea had been last night, all night: what he had been doing that had kept him both away from home and away from her bed. But the events and sensations of the last twelve hours were too raw, too immediate to discuss; he sensed that the equipoise of his life was about to spin irrevocably out of control, and he was too exhausted to deal with the consequences. At thirty-eight, Barea had constructed a life that was a delicate balancing act. He’d grown up poor: his father, an army recruiter, dead at forty, had left his family penniless; his mother had had to wash soldiers’ dirty laundry in the Manzanares—breaking the i
From the Publisher
A spellbinding story of love amid the devastation of the Spanish Civil War
Madrid, 1936. In a city blasted by a civil war that many fear will cross borders and engulf Europe—a conflict one writer will call “the decisive thing of the century”—six people meet and find their lives changed forever. Ernest Hemingway, his career stalled, his marriage sour, hopes that this war will give him fresh material and new romance; Martha Gellhorn, an ambitious novice journalist hungry for love and experience, thinks she will find both with Hemingway in Spain. Robert Capa and Gerda Taro, idealistic young photographers based in Paris, want to capture history in the making and are inventing modern photojournalism in the process. And Arturo Barea, chief of Madrid’s loyalist foreign press office, and Ilsa Kulcsar, his Austrian deputy, are struggling to balance truth-telling with loyalty to their sometimes compromised cause—a struggle that places both of them in peril.
traces the tangled wartime destinies of these three couples against the backdrop of a critical moment in history. As Hemingway put it, “You could learn as much at the Hotel Florida in those years as you could anywhere in the world.” From the raw material of unpublished letters and diaries, official documents, and recovered reels of film, Amanda Vaill has created a narrative of love and reinvention that is, finally, a story about truth: finding it out, telling it, and living it—whatever the cost.
About the Author
is the author of  the bestselling Everybody Was So Young: Gerald and Sara Murphy
—A Lost Generation Love Story
, which was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award in biography, and Somewhere: The Life of Jerome Robbins
, for which she was awarded a Guggenheim fellowship. In addition to her screenplay for the Emmy– and Peabody Award–winning public television documentary Jerome Robbins: Something to Dance About
, she has also written features and criticism for a range of journals from Allure
to The Washington Post Book World
. She lives in New York City.
"Vaill isn’t after anything as quixotic as trying to ‘set the record straight’ on the Spanish Civil War; instead, she delves deeply into the lives of three couples whose chronicling of the war shaped public perception . . . What Vaill seems to be mulling over in this book is the age-old question of what war does to people . . . Hotel Florida adds to the cold hard facts—as well as to the enduring mystique—of the Spanish Civil War." —Maureen Corrigan, NPR''s Fresh Air "Vaill’s considerable accomplishment in Hotel Florida stems from her structural strategy to view the Spanish Civil War through the interwoven stories of a sextet of individuals . . . The threads of all these tales ripple with excitement, doom, courage, betrayal, defeat and, of course, love . . . Vaill’s book races forward like a novel, even as it provides a lucid account of a hugely complex and sometimes baffling war." —Steve Paul, The Kansas City Star "Moving and illuminating . . . Like Shakespeare, Vaill knows that history isn''t written without tragedy . . . If you''ve never cried over a biography or history, Hotel Florida might be your first weeper with an index." —Darryl Whetter, National Post "[Vaill] is eminently capable of juggling multiple stories, of making readers care about all her characters . . . [She] has written a powerful account of a country harrowed by war, of a motley collection of talented human beings striding into the gun