The New Yorker hired her in 1945 from a left-leaning New York daily called PM, and she quickly carved out a role as a journalistic fly on the wall par excellence, relying so heavily on quotations that James Thurber called her “the girl with the built-in tape recorder”.
But with Ross, the great listener, in tow, Hemingway can’t stop talking, revealing himself in all his fading glory. “It isn’t hard to die,” he says over a lunch washed down with wine, leaving Ross to pick up the narrative.
“He opened his mouth and laughed, at first soundlessly and then loudly,” she writes. “‘No more worries,’ he said. With his fingers, he picked up a long spear of asparagus and looked at it without enthusiasm. ‘It takes a pretty good man to make any sense when he’s dying,’ he said.”
–Gary Silverman “Lillian Ross, journalist, 1918-2017” Financial Times