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Fiesta by Ernest Hemingway

Fiesta (original 1926; edition 2003)

by Ernest Hemingway

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14,524None137 (3.83)1 / 401
biblisad's review
Un grupo de americanos e ingleses afincados en París. Personajes desgarrados, errráticos y descritos con tal veracidad que acabarán dando nombre a esa Generación Perdida, terminada la Primera Guerra Mundial. Sus andanzas desde la Rive Gauche a los Sanfermines, narradas con pulso tenso, en una atmósfera desesperadamente vital, y amenazante. ( )
  biblisad | May 28, 2012 |
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I didn't actually "read" this. I listened to it on tape in the car during a long trip. I'm in awe of the power of Hemingway's writing. Not very politically correct by today's standards, but given the context of the time in which it was written, it still holds up. ( )
  gkyoungen | Mar 24, 2014 |
My favorite Hemingway. Explores the expatriates of the list generation. ( )
  jamesfallen | Feb 7, 2014 |
My favorite Hemingway. Explores the expatriates of the list generation. ( )
  jamesfallen | Feb 7, 2014 |
I'll be honest, I was bored during the majority of the book. The characters were, for the most part, unsympathetic. The premise was dull, and, though it is, in theory, Jake talking about Cohn, I didn't feel like it was Cohn's story...and he was the only one with much of a background at all. I am not a fan of the style, the simplistic adjectives and the high amounts of repetition (possibly a carry over from Hemingway's own association with Stein),and I probably wouldn't read it again, but I am content that I read it at least once. ( )
  CSTaylor24 | Jan 23, 2014 |
To be completely honest, I read this novel just to read it. Taking this into consideration, I understand (and I'm sure most of you reading will, as well) that having read this fiction I only got out of it what I wanted, or what I searched for. The first section of the novel caught me by surprise by how drawn-out it seemed; sure, this was the base of the novel, but I did not appreciate the fact that it set the tone for the rest of what was to come. What came was a story of some chaps going to a fiesta, and all of them, horribly in love with the one chick, getting beat out by a young matador. One chap, the main chap, didn't have a wee, but he seemed to be doing perfectly fine without it seeing how he has a respectable job, a shit-load of money, and can enjoy the finer things in life. The other guys... Bill seemed normal. Mike might be a bit of a drunk and have some problems with repetition (for Christ's sake), but I'd say he's alright. Cohn, on the other hand, has, I'd say, the most development in the story because of his background and what he gets himself into. Overall, I didn't keep reading this novel for the characters. The story wasn't something to coo for, either. I mean, at certain points, I'm glad that Hemingway wrote this because he did the matador rather well; however, when he got to describing the scenery, I got quite tired; and the name-drops of all these places in France--mostly bars... I felt like it was a prerequisite to have gone to France!

I would have much rather read a Henry James piece about Americans in Europe than this novel. To me, this whole story could have and probably should have been way shorter for the amount of positives it shares with anyone who read it. I give it two stars because it is Hemingway. And Hemingway does know how to write. ( )
  Max-Tyrone | Jan 10, 2014 |
Short sentences, lots of drinking, dissolute characters and bulls. ( )
  Doondeck | Nov 20, 2013 |
I am being generous by giving this three stars, but what can I say, it is Ernest Hemingway. I can't really say I liked it, because it is so depressing. Lives going no where... endless drinking... but I guess that was the point. Not my favorite! ( )
  KristinaMiranda | Oct 26, 2013 |
I didn't particularly care for this book, a character study of the "Lost Generation," the post-World War I expatriates who congregated in Paris and seemed to spend their time writing or pursuing the arts, traveling, and drinking (a LOT), while living off inheritances or other people's money.

However, after reading The Paris Wife  about a year ago, a biographical novel about Hemingway's first (of four) wives Hadley, and discussing it earlier this year, our book club agreed to read The Sun Also Rises, the book that Hadley received all the royalties from in a pre-divorce settlement.

British socialite Lady Duff Twysden and her two lovers, writer Harold Loeb and Pat Guthrie; Hemingway's boyhood friend Bill Smith; and writer Donald Ogden Stewart were among the group that accompanied Hemingway and his wife Hadley on their third trip to Pamplona, Spain, in June 1925.  They (and their actions) inspired the characters of Lady Brett Ashley, Robert Cohn, Mike Campbell, and Bill Gorton (a combination of Smith and Stewart) respectively.  Hemingway of course, is the narrator and main character, Jake), while Hadley does not appear in the book at all (other than possibly in the guise of Jake's impotence that prevents him from having an affair with Brett/Duff).  The young matador Cayetano Ordóñez was the inspiration for matador Pedro Romero in the book.

Brett is a woman who wants sex without love, while Jake can only give her love without sex.   That's more or less the gist of the story.  Brett is living with the alcoholic Mike, and has an affair with the Jewish Robert.  Bill seems to be a pretty normal guy; he and Jake go on a fishing trip on the way to Pamplona.  The other three join them there, and there's a lot of tension, because both Jake and Robert are in love with Brett, but Robert is an annoying third wheel to Mike.  Meanwhile Brett seduces Romero.  None of these characters are especially likeable.

It was interesting to see how much Brett was like Duff in The Paris Wife.  Hemingway biographer  Michael Reynolds said, "Duff Twysden used men like library books, checked them out, browsed through them and returned them late without paying the fine," (Hemingway: The Paris Years, 1989, page 289), and that's a pretty apt description of Brett.

The title of the book is tied into the twin epigraphs at the beginning, one a quote from Gertrude Stein, part of Hemingway's Paris group, that "You are all a lost generation," and the other from Ecclesiastes 1:4-7, which begins: "One generation passes away, and another generation comes; but the earth abides forever. The sun also rises..."

Well-known movie actor William Hurt read this audiobook.  I thought he was pretty effective, especially with the voice of Mike Campbell, who he gave a Scottish burr (although a very drunken one).  He was very good at making all the characters sound drunk when they were drunk.

I'd definitely recommend this book as a pair with The Paris Wife.  I'm also interested in reading Hemingway's take on his Paris years, A Moveable Feast, to see how they compare.

© Amanda Pape - 2013

[The audiobook, and a print copy for reference, were borrowed from and returned to my university library. This review also appears on Bookin' It.] ( )
4 vote riofriotex | Oct 20, 2013 |
This book is much more understandable than many Modernist novels, for which I was very grateful. Also, I encourage everyone to look at Sparknotes while reading this; Hemingway doesn't explicitly state certain important details. Altogether, the book is highly entertaining and full of meaning, although you have to wonder how the characters remain standing after consuming so much alcohol! ( )
  hanbridturner | Sep 25, 2013 |
I've only read shorter works by Hemingway in the past and was never very thrilled by them. Oh I could immediately see that he had a wonderful way with prose - the fact that his writing is so sparse and clean is very deceptive and makes writing that way seem easy. It's not. Using so few words to say so much is incredibly difficult. But I've never liked any of his characters - I've been interested in them, but nothing that I've read before made me think "I must set this aside and read it another time so that I can enjoy the story all over again." With The Sun Also Rises I'm in that same place again - I don't want/need to reread this - but I was very interested in the story and what would happen with the characters. More than anything in the plot I was interested in Hemingway's descriptions of the countryside - I really must read some of his travel essays. I can also see how a story like this gives the reader plenty to discuss when trying to interpret it.

Short version, as far as stars go: 4 stars for the writing, 3 stars for the story. While I was extremely interested to follow what the characters did and said, and how various messes would resolve themselves, I don't feel the need to reread. Because I didn't really like those people very much - and they didn't particularly like themselves much either. But I did really enjoy my reading of this, and the outcome did surprise me. (I kept thinking that someone was bound to die or commit suicide and was happily proven wrong.)

The reason it's something of a surprise to find myself really enjoying the reading is that I've never had really positive feelings for Hemingway. This is due to having read
1) contemporary (his contemporaries, not my own) views and essays gushing over how wonderful Hemingway is and how he's changing literature,
(I read in either a biography or an essay that Hemingway grew tired of people who were forever praising him this way, so the whole You Are A Deity Amongst Authors bit wasn't something he always enjoyed.)
2) more recent biographies about Hemingway and/or Hemingway's friends and/or contemporary writers, which never make him look good as he did tend to pick up and dispose of women repeatedly.
(People who wrote about him as a drinking buddy saw him very differently than those who married and/or dated him. Or saw him move on from one woman to the next. The contrast between those two groups and how they describe Hemingway is pretty stark.)

I balance that with the knowledge that, after having read biographies of many authors, most people on the Great Writers list are often not people you'd care to live with, and are often known as having "difficult" temperaments.

Anyway, I came at this not expecting to like any of his characters - I didn't - and not really thinking I'd enjoy or get into the reading - surprise, I did. I really wanted to know how he'd tie up various bits of plot. I wasn't satisfied with everything - but at the same time I'm glad things didn't end in ways that I expected. And I now look forward to reading other Hemingway rather than seeing it as a chore that I have to make myself read X and Y novels. (I haven't yet decided which novels will be the X and Y.)

Helpful wikipedia links:
The Sun Also Rises
San Fermin - celebration of Saint Fermin in Pamplona, Spain
Running of the Bulls - Pamplona, Spain
San Sebastián, Spain

Random Thoughts, Quotes:

- There are parts of the story set in Paris where I feel you could actually map out where Jake is taking a cab ride and re-create the trip. In fact I'll bet someone somewhere has put that information on the web. (Note to self, google this later.)

- The story has (rawr, manly) sports scattered all through it: boxing, fishing, bull-fighting, biking (Tour du Pays Basque cyclists at the hotel), and swimming. And of course drinking, which is definitely a sport in which all the characters partake. Sex, not so much by everyone, but it's in there as a competitive sport as well. (The rawr-manly thing is me referring to Hemingway being thought of by others - and marketed as - "a man's writer" for writing about stereotypically male pursuits like sports, etc.)

- Hemingway does a really great job of characters having drunken conversations, with the reader being the sober person listening in. I've been that sober person, and it's much nicer to read such conversations than participate - drunken folk are rarely as witty if you're not drunk too.

- My favorite drunken conversation, probably because it involves taxidermy, p. 72-73, 74:"Here's a taxidermist's," Bill said. "Want to buy anything? Nice stuffed dog?"
"Come on," I said. "You're pie-eyed."
"Pretty nice stuffed dogs," Bill said. "Certainly brighten up your flat."
"Come on."
"Just one stuffed dog. I can take 'em or leave 'em alone. But listen, Jake. Just one stuffed dog."
"Come on."
"Mean everything in the world to you after you bought it. Simple exchange of values. You give them money. They give you a stuffed dog."
"We'll get one on the way back."
"All right. Have it your own way. Road to hell paved with un-bought stuffed dogs. Not my fault."
We went on.

...A horse-cab passed us. Bill looked at it.
"See that horse-cab? Going to have that horse-cab stuffed for you for Christmas. Going to give all my friends stuffed animals. I'm a nature-writer."That's also very accurate in the scenario of "drunk person makes a joke but then refuses to let it die."

- I knew about the plot of this book long ago because the "nudge-nudge wink-wink, war wound" part has been fodder for so many jokes and pop culture references. After reading this I can really understand why this bit was whispered about so much because all references to said wound are intensely vague. Which of course makes you wonder how, or specifically where he was wounded. Details are not given. Here're some examples of the vagueness (hiding more for length than spoilers):p 26, adding names brackets so you can tell who's talking, you have to pay attention even with all the text, because it's not always clear. Him is Jake, her is Brett:

"Don't you love me?" [him]
"Love you? I simply turn all to jelly when you touch me." [her]
"Isn't there anything we can do about it?" [him]

...[Description here about how they're sitting, and how she's looking at him.]...

"And there's not a damn thing we could do," I said. [him]
"I don't know," she said. "I don't want to go through that hell again."
"We'd better keep away from each other." [him]
"But, darling, I have to see you. It isn't all that you know." [her]
"No, but it always gets to be." [him]
"That's my fault. Don't we pay for all the things we do, though?" [her]
She had been looking into my eyes all the time. Her eyes had different depths, sometimes they seemed perfectly flat. Now you could see all the way into them.
"When I think of the hell I've put chaps through. I'm paying for it all now." [her]
"Don't talk like a fool," I said. "Besides, what happened to me is supposed to be funny. I never think about it."
"Oh no, I'll lay you don't."
"Well, let's shut up about it."
"I laughed at it too, myself, once." She wasn't looking at me. "A friend of my brother's came home that way from Mons. It seemed like a hell of a joke. Chaps never know anything do they?"
"No," I said. "Nobody ever knows anything."
I was pretty well through with the subject. At one time or another I had probably considered it from most of its various angles, including the one that certain injuries or imperfections are a subject of merriment while remaining quite serious for the person possessing them.

p 31, Jake thinking about the wound:

My head started to work. The old grievance. Well, it was a rotten way to be wounded and flying on a joke front like the Italian. In the Italian hospital we were going to form a society. It had a funny name in Italian. I wonder what became of the others, the Italians. That was in the Ospedale Maggiore in Milano, Padiglione Ponte. The next building was the Padiglione Zonda. There was a statue of Ponte, or maybe it was Zonda. That was where the liaison colonel came to visit me. That was funny. That was about the first funny thing. I was all bandaged up. But they had told him about it. Then he made that wonderful speech: "You, a foreigner, an Englishman" (any foreigner was an Englishman) "have given more than your life." What a speech! I would like to have it illuminated to hang up in the office. He never laughed. He was putting himself in my place, I guess. "Che mala fortuna! Che mala fortuna!"

I never used to realize it, I guess. I try and play it along and just not make trouble for people. Probably I never would have had any trouble if I hadn't run into Brett when they shipped me to England. I suppose she only wanted what she couldn't have. Well, people were that way. To hell with people. The Catholic Church had an awfully good way of handling all that. Good advice, anyway. Not to think about it. Oh, it was swell advice. Try and take it sometime. Try and take it.

I lay awake thinking and my mind jumping around. Then I couldn't keep away from it, and I started to think about Brett and all the rest of it went away. I was thinking about Brett and my mind stopped jumping around and started to go in sort of smooth waves. Then all of a sudden I started to cry. Then after a while it was better and I lay in bed and listened to the heavy trams go by and way down the street, and then I went to sleep.
Again this came out in 1926 when it was still a big deal to even insinuate characters had sex. So this is racey stuff. As is the use of the word bitch in the later chapters.

- Speaking of which, the word bitch is used only by Brett. Here's a sample, p. 243:"I'm thirty-four, you know. I'm not going to be one of those bitches that ruins children."

- While plot summaries of the book can make it sound much more racy than the book is (by modern standards) it's also hard not to want to gossip about who's hooking up with who and wth they think they're doing. Robert Cohen tries to leave his mistress, who he refuses to marry, but she doesn't want to leave him. Meanwhile, in the parallel scenario, Jake wants to keep Brett with him and she decides she must leave him - while continuing to tell him she loves him. If it wasn't for Hemingway's writing style this would be the most cheesy of soap operas.

- What IS up with this generation of writers and the Jews? This is the second book I've read recently that does this (Nightwood), but I've read other authors in the past that also fixate on the Jews, and use a Jewish character to Symbolize Something. In this book it's a completely negative character. Robert Cohen is introduced as a Jew, and his Jewishness brought up repeatedly in early descriptions by the narrator, though those don't seem particularly negative. But the other characters always use it as a slur when discussing Cohen. I'll put the quotes behind a spoiler link, in case you haven't read the book:p 143, Michael: "No, listen, Jake. Brett's gone off with men. But they weren't ever Jews, and they didn't come and hang around afterwards."

p 162: "That Cohen gets me," Bill said. "He's got this Jewish superiority so strong that he thinks the only emotion he'll get out of the fight will be being bored."

p 184, Brett: "Oh, darling, don't be difficult. What do you think it's meant to have that damned Jew about, and Mike the way he's acted?"

p 203, Michael: "...I said if she would go about with Jews and bull-fighters and such people, she must expect trouble."
Having your characters toss the slurs around is one thing - but the opening descriptions of him make it seem as though his Jewishness is an important descriptor, as if it explains something about his actions. I think this actually tells us a lot more about Hemingway than about Jews in the 1920s. Unless it's the concept that everyone felt this stereotype was normal then, while now it's (rightfully) seen as ugly.

- Another ugly bit is the use of the word nigger. Why am I adding this? Well, the book contains it, and I'm big on calling out the use of the word in hopes of making people realize how pervasive it is in the literature in the hopes that it will lead to realization of yes, this racism was that deeply ingrained, it was that casual, that often used - it's in some Great Literature and yet rarely is that mentioned. Here it's used to describe a black boxer that one of the characters tries to help out. p 71, Bill speaking:"Wonderful nigger. Looked like Tiger Flowers, only four times as big. All of a sudden everybody started to throw things. Not me. Nigger'd just knocked local boy down. Nigger put up his glove. Wanted to make a speech. Awful noble-looking nigger. Started to make a speech. Then local white boy hit him. Then he knocked white boy cold. Then everybody commenced to throw chairs. Nigger went home with us in our car. Remember the whole thing now. Big sporting evening."That isn't the first time the word was used, and it's used in the rest of the conversation after this speech. ( )
  bookishbat | Sep 25, 2013 |
Listened to Books on Tape edition narrated by Alexander Adams. I had the same problem with this that I did with The Paris Wife - I just didn't like anybody. In fact, I felt like the one sober person at a party where all the drunk people think they're hilarious, but in actuality are mean and destructive. Partly, I find these kinds of people hard to relate to - everyone is unhappily married, but in the process of getting divorced so they can unhappily marry somebody else which is just mystifying to me - why not try being alone for a bit, drinking a little bit less and see if that makes you happier? It probably doesn't help that bull fighting does nothing for me. I think I am just not destined to be a Hemingway fan. ( )
1 vote JenJ. | Aug 31, 2013 |
They turned The Sun Also Rises, Hemingway's first novel, into a film in 1957, and I wonder about seeing it for fear they twisted this novel into some sort of Hollywood love story. You look at the representations of Tyrone Power and Ava Gardner on the poster and it seems that way, which is a long way off. Hemingway's novel is not a story of pining desire, but of absence and defeat. Barnes does not really want for Lady Ashley, but he did at one time, and the action of the novel is an agonizingly long extension of tangible loss for absolutely everything Barnes does not have. Barnes is castrated physically and emotionally, and the rest of his compatriots are just as lacking. Rather than getting anything from them he is casting stones into a reflecting pond. The most beautiful thing here is a bullfight, a gored steer or a dead matador after one or another elegant dance. Even the beauty to be found here is full of loss. Loss is stretched out across the arc of this narrative like an unwound intestine bloodied and rotting in the Pamplona sun. ( )
  poetontheone | Aug 21, 2013 |
This book reads somewhat like a memoir, with well-drawn characters whom the narrator travels with in Spain, mostly. It captivated me. I remember Isaac Singer saying you can write a good story about going to the corner to shop, as long as the syntax is constructed properly. This book is an example of this. I should add that Mark Twain had said, "Whenever you write the word 'very,' replace it with the word 'damn.'" I would say that in this book the word 'very' is used on nearly every page, but it works. ( )
  phillipfrey | Aug 15, 2013 |
I had just finished the Paris Wife which tells about EH writing this book after they had been to the bull-fights in Spain. I have to remember this was written in a different time. It seems all they did was drink and travel and I wonder how they had the money to do all of that. Not my favorite book. But glad I can say I read Hemmingway. ( )
  DeniseToby | Jul 11, 2013 |
Aside from the Nick Adams Stories, this is my favourite Hemingway. I was trying to pinpoint what exactly it was that made me enjoy it so much. And after reading some of the reviews featured on LT, I think I remember.

A lot of criticism centres on the overindulgence of the characters being rich, lazy, good-for-nothing drunkards. And apart from Jake, who is the only one holding a "real" job, this might be true. Brett's and her fiancé's wealth is really just in their name. The rest of them either inherited their riches or got lucky in various investments. Maybe their money is the basis for their exuberant lifestyles, however, I would argue that it isn't about the money.

Rather, the feeling I remember clearest is one of liberty. Freedom from responsibility and a certain insouciant attitude towards everything, be it the commitment to an appointment, or the consideration of other people's feelings. The picture that stuck with me the most was Jake floating in the sea in San Sebastian. And every time I put myself in his shoe's I can feel the warmth of the sun, and I see the flickering sun light on the inside of my eye-lids, and I can hear people talking on the beach. It is a memory of youth. When life was about the next moment, not next week, or next year. In a way, every time I pick up the novel, I feel I'm being propelled back in time.

And let's not forget that the story is set in the 1920s. We're all familiar with the themes of the lost generation: disillusionment after WW I, and breaking with old 19th Century traditions. Certainly, not everyone was in a position to enjoy those new-found liberties, again, money was certainly a big issue. But there was nevertheless a revolution in societal attitudes at large.

However, the novel is also imbued with tremendous sadness. And although the theme is youth, lavishness and liberty, those generate no buoyancy in the characters. The pace is so very slow, almost as if it was weighed down by the Spanish heat. In my opinion, Hemingway did sense a downside to those jazzy attitudes and foresaw their superfluity. He did manage to instil the ex-patriots' disposition in this novel, but he also offered a critique alongside. ( )
1 vote BriannaNo2 | Jun 8, 2013 |
Read in HS, don't remember much about the story. ( )
  mike.stephenson | May 24, 2013 |
I think I prefer Hemingway's short stories to his novels. ( )
  katemo | May 16, 2013 |
was not expecting to like this and don't really know why i did. a story of english-speakers in france and spain between wars, they all drink way too much and look down on the europeans. they are all in lust with brett who is more like a man than the men. jake is an extremely nice guy. hope he doesn't finish last. he keeps the novel going. ( )
  mahallett | Apr 28, 2013 |
I read "The Paris Wife" earlier this year and it tells the story of the Hemingways and friends going to bull fights in Spain, which inspired this first major break through work for Ernest. Thus, I felt compelled (yawwwwn) to read the actual (ho hum) book to see what all the (huh?) fuss was about.
OK, so maybe he wrote differently than the other popular writers of that time, but I got little if no "meat" from this story of self-indulgent rich people with nothing better to do than to drink and drink and drink some more and fuss over a silly woman. Writing simple sentences can make you famous. I can write a simple sentence. I can be famous. I went to the pub and drank too much. Am I famous now? She is not one to read "the classics". ( )
  CasaBooks | Apr 28, 2013 |
I have looked forward for many years to reading another Hemingway novel. I loved A Farewell to Arms and the characters of Frederick Henry and Catherine Barkley have stayed with me for many years. With the understanding that The Sun Also Rises is considered by many to be Hemingway's finest work, I dove in hoping to be as enthralled as I was with AFTA. And so, because I was not, I wonder if I'm judging TSAR somewhat unfairly. But I cannot escape that fundamentally this book is about celebrating the flaws in characters and commending them for being selfish and hateful. This was simply something I did not enjoy. I rate this with three stars because the plot is good (once you get past the first section, which is essentially only to lay the groundwork for the rest of the novel) and because the characters are unforgettable. But they are unforgettable for very different reasons than Lieutenant Henry and his beloved nurse Barkley; they are unforgettable because they are, quite simply, immature and indecent people.

Perhaps I'm being too harsh here. I did enjoy Hemingway's simple style, and the descriptions of the festival at Pamplona are excellent, particularly of the bull fighting towards the end. But at the end of the day, what we have here are men who drink too much, who hate other men because they all desire the same woman, and that one woman is selfish, superficial and someone who uses men only for her ends. I found it very difficult to sympathize with any of them. Robert Cohn may very well be a petty man who is egotistical, but the characters constantly demean him not for these negative qualities but for his Jewish ethnicity. Michael Campbell is a drunken gentlemen prone to fits of rage and rants, but no one stands up to him and calls him out on it. Jake Barnes stands at the center of all of this, and while he seems to have more redeeming qualities than the rest, he also goes along with the childish antics of his friends and engages in foul behavior even when he is aware of its foulness. He is anti-Semitic towards Cohn like all the others and cannot find the inner strength to tear himself away from the poison that is Lady Brett Ashley. Brett Ashley is possibly the worst offender of them all, as she consistently does damage to everyone around her, seems to be aware of this damage, and simply chooses to ignore it as it does not serve her own selfish ends. If there was anything redeeming of the way these characters carry on, it is this: none of them, perhaps save Ashley, get what they want in the end.

My rating reflects the fact that I don't like the characters and I especially hated the anti-Semitic theme with regards to Cohn. But I will not dispute that it is a valuable book and it is written well. I think if anyone were searching for a novel that shows the fruits of pursuing a life of selfishness, depravity and above all drunkenness (I'm not entirely sure the characters were ever sober), this would be it. But don't expect to find characters you can empathize with, because they simply aren't here. ( )
  Raven9167 | Apr 13, 2013 |
Doing a re-read of the novel for the Seasonal Reading Challenge (Fall 2009). I loved this book when I studied it in high school, so it will be interesting to see if I feel the same way about it now. ( )
  DawsonOakes | Apr 10, 2013 |
The whole novel I kept thinking about what kind of novel would the Robert Cohn novel be. Like, we were watching those bit players get drunk. And, really, devoting an entire novel to these rich (well, minus Mike OF COURSE) expats was a little boring at times. All I could think was, how crazy is it that we're not even getting the whole story because these narrators are all so drunk and high that most of the time they are secluding in their own little world and can barely see past their own noses. I bet if we heard from Cohn (don't even get me started on how tired I was getting about hearing about Jews and black people and all of the other insanely offensive terms and stereotypes Hemingway uses) we would see a much more honest account of all that was going on. I wish we could have that novel, too. ( )
  eidzior | Apr 6, 2013 |
i should start by acknowledging a bias - i tried to read this with an open mind and i think i succeeded, but i really and truly detest hemingway. i believe that he is an absolute misogynist (and not in the way that adds something to the story, or for a reason, or in a way you can even ignore, but in a way i cannot abide) and am not a fan of his simplistic writing in the least. so, that said, this is by far the best hemingway i've read, but i still didn't really like it much. his view of women is better than in other books, but still not good. i didn't find his story compelling (and in some places it was offensive, but that could have been intentional, it's hard to say) and i never found his writing even a little interesting. but still, so much better than his others that i've read that i had to give it more than 1 star. ( )
  elisa.saphier | Apr 3, 2013 |
Ernest. Er. Nest. Light of my life, fire of my- wait. That's not right. Ahem.

Sooo I love Hemingway, let's just put that out there. He's King Literary Man, and I heart that. I'm not a fan of pansy writerly types (I'mlookingatyouFranzen) AND he had a kick ass beard AND nifty boat shoes. What's not to love? Also, The Old Man and the Sea is one of the most riveting, heart-wrenching things I've ever read. Sometimes, I get so irritated with writers assuming their audience is a bunch of morons and feeling the need to spell out EVERY LITTLE EFFING THING. When I get burnt out, I turn to the Hems. He never fails to tell a great yarn with only the necessary words, and I also leave feeling like he respects the reader. And then there's the beard thing again. I've encouraged my husband to grow a beard. Co-inky-dink? I think no.


Ok, gushing aside, this one is not my super-fav. The Sun Also Rises is Hemingway's first novel, and it's got a very first-novelly smell, which resembles bullsh**, buttercups, and alcohol. For those of you unfamiliar with this particular tome, it's about a bunch of expatriates traveling to Spain for bullfights. Most of the book consists of drinking, all the male characters chasing after a British lady (and you never really figure out why everyone likes her so much), and bulls. In typical Hemingway fashion, the bits about the woman are bad. The bits about manly things like fishing and killing large horned beasts are great. Also, I was a bit worried that the bits about the bullfights would upset my vegetarian head-bone, but it's very tastefully handled. Hemingway's respect for the sport comes through nicely, and he somehow manages to make it seem both brutal and beautiful which is, IMO, his greatest strength. It's how he portrays war, life, and almost anything else. Except the ladies. He really should have just not talked about ladies. ( )
  deadwhiteguys | Apr 3, 2013 |
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Legacy Library: Ernest Hemingway

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