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Hal Bush: H.K. Bush: Harold K. Bush

Author, Professor, Raconteur . . . .

The Hemingway Files by: H. K. Bush

The allure of literary letters and rare first editions captures the imaginations of three professors of English literature and leads to tragedy in the wake of the Great Kobe Earthquake of 1995.

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"A young American professor accepts a prestigious post in Japan, only to wonder whether he’s being manipulated by a wealthy collector of literary treasures. In a gripping story both nuanced and layered, H.K. Bush creates a fable of literary obsession, longing, and the allure of the unknowable."
  • Janie Chang
"A puzzle-box of a novel set in late twentieth-century Japan that entices and tantalizes the reader with an alluringly beautiful woman, a sagacious teacher, and a literary treasure trove that unlocks the secret to one of the great mysteries in Hemingway biography."
  • Dr. James Hutchisson
"Fascinating. Compelling. Engaging. The Hemingway Files is all of the above and so much more. Bush knows his subjects--Whitman, Twain, Melville, Pound, and above all, Ernest Hemingway. His novel teaches us a measure of reality that is so rare in fiction these days, and even in its liberally creative moments, gives us something true to hold onto and to hold steady with in the current of our modern world."
  • Dr. Matthew Nickel
"Words matter. Words--written, spoken, lost, rediscovered, hidden, hoarded, smuggled, stolen, and even unspoken--matter, and words advance the plot and are the theme of this intriguing novel. This story begins in mysteries--the mystery of a foreign culture, a mysterious man of wealth and wisdom whose past and present are never fully disclosed, a forbidden romance, mysterious literary treasures—and soon becomes a page-turner as these mysteries begin to unfold and others come into view. The simple act of living risks loss and disappointment, spawns memories that fade and others that cling, and can end without warning at any time. But words, indestructible, give it all meaning."
  • Kevin Mac Donnell
  • Collector and Owner of Mac Donnell Rare Books, Austin TX
"Readers agonizing over whether they should read an intricate mystery, a heart-breaking romance, a fascinating travelogue, or a rich and imaginative literary treatise will find all four brilliantly combined in The Hemingway Files. This beautifully crafted first-time novel is an always engaging and often dramatic exploration of the power of words that will especially please both lovers of American literature and aficionados of Japanese culture. One wouldn't expect to find a strong connection between two such disparate subjects, but H. K. Bush does so in such a satisfying way that it will make readers clamor for his next novel."
  • R. Kent Rasmussen
the story

Go on a Journey

"The package arrived in my departmental mailbox some time before Christmas break, but I didn’t see it until several weeks later, well after New Year’s Day of 2011—a rather unfortunate circumstance, since its arrival during Advent would have boosted my flagging affinities for the miraculous. Now I am revising this preface one last time, just over a year later, in spring of 2012, my mundane life having been permanently jolted by the parcel’s marvelous contents."


Overview of book

An English professor receives a mysterious package with several smaller packages within it, including a manuscript, from a recently deceased former student. The manuscript tells the former student's story—a story he had never revealed to anyone. As a newly-minted Ph.D. from Yale, Jack Springs, ended up in Kobe, Japan circa 1992, where he encountered a mysterious Japanese professor of American literature, named Goto. The second son of a family of immense wealth and power, Goto was a clandestine collector of literary rarities, manuscripts, and books. Through a series of meetings, Goto provided Jack with a systematic set of revelations about Hemingway, Ezra Pound, and other literary giants, all of which were supported by unknown documents in Goto's possession. With the allure of these revelations, as well as Goto's beautiful niece, Jack was drawn back to Goto's house again and again until the tragic events on the day of the Great Kobe Earthquake of 1995 threatened to destroy all that had been revealed—including Jack’s sense of who he was and what he was capable of.

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I know now that there is no one thing that is true – it is all true.

Ernest Hemingway

About author
H. K. Bush

H.K. Bush, is a professor of English at St. Louis University, a former Fulbright Senior Scholar in Freiburg, Germany, and a Senior Fellow at Waseda Institute in Tokyo. Prof. Bush is most noted for his work as a scholar of Mark Twain, Abraham Lincoln, and Harriet Beecher Stowe. His most recent book, Continuing Bonds: Parental Grief and Nineteenth-Century American Authorship (University of Iowa Press, 2015), is a cultural history of the deaths of children in the nineteenth century in America, and specifically how grief influenced the written works of major American authors. Previously, Lincoln in His Own Time, appeared in October of 2011 from the University of Iowa Press; and before that, Prof. Bush authored a highly acclaimed cultural biography, Mark Twain and the Spiritual Crisis of His Age (2007), and American Declarations (1999). In addition, he writes regularly in popular venues such as Books & Culture, Christian Century, The Cresset, and the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, among others, and is also founder and contributing editor for the Heithaus Haven on-line blog community. The Hemingway Files is his first novel.


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