Mystery of Hemingway’s Cuban House

The mystery of whether Ernest Hemingway’s widow volunteered or was coerced into leaving their Cuban house to the nation has come a step closer to being solved, with the discovery of a letter in which she states that her late husband “would be pleased” that Finca Vigía be “given to the people of Cuba … as a center for opportunities for wider education and research.” Hemingway lived on the 19th-century Cuban farm for 21 years, between 1939 and 1961, writing his masterpieces “The Old Man and the Sea” and “For Whom the Bell Tolls” there as well as posthumously published works including “A Moveable Feast” and “Islands in the Stream.” He committed suicide in Idaho in 1961. The property became a museum in 1962, but it has been unclear whether this was following the wishes of Mary Hemingway, his fourth wife, or at the insistence of the Cuban government, with differing accounts from different parties.

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