Hemingway’s home repair


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Mark Crick, who imagined authors in the kitchen in his book ‘Kafka’s Soup,’ has followed up with ‘Sartre’s Sink,’ lampooning both DIY home repair and classic authors.

In the new book, he sets Jean-Paul Sartre, Fyodor Dostoevsky, Marguerite Duras, Joseph Conrad and even gonzo Hunter S. Thomspon up with do-it-yourself projects around the house. Only marginally instructive, each entry is in the style and tone of the original author. Take, for example, this opening, which might be called ‘The Old Man and the Wallpaper.’


Hanging wallpaper with Ernest Hemingway Tools: Pasting brush, Wallpaper brush, Decorator’s scissors, Pasting table, Plumb line Materials: Wallpaper, Wallpaper paste The old man had worked for two days and two nights to strip away the old wallpaper and now on the morning of the third day the time to hang the new paper had come and he was tired. His palms were blistered from long hours scraping away the old paper and the blisters had begun to weep. The old man felt the pain in his hands as he looked again at the bare walls of the room. ‘Room, thou art big. But I will finish this trabajo that I have begun,’ he said. ‘Or I will die trying.’ The old man held the line delicately in his right hand. He threaded it through the eye on the lead weight, then he made fast the end of the line to hold the weight in place...

U.S. readers will have to wait for the ‘Sartre’s Sink,’ which hit shelves in the U.K. this month. But three sections are available now at the Independent, if you can’t wait for a project like The Great Red Porcupine Trapped in the Snake Pit Narco Guerrilla Gardening ... OR Putting Up a Garden Fence with Hunter S Thompson.

-- Carolyn Kellogg