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The Sun Also Rises (1926)

by Ernest Hemingway

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
20,847295149 (3.77)1 / 584
A story of expatriate Americans and British living in Paris after the First World War.
  1. 72
    The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald (sturlington)
    sturlington: Great novels of the Jazz Age.
  2. 31
    As I Lay Dying by William Faulkner (2below)
    2below: Both involve complicated characters (some might say messed up), crazy mishaps, and fascinating unstable and unreliable narratives. Also excellent examples of Modernist fiction.
  3. 10
    The Dangerous Summer by Ernest Hemingway (GYKM)
  4. 10
    The Garden of Eden by Ernest Hemingway (John_Vaughan)
  5. 21
    The Professor's House by Willa Cather (2below)
    2below: These are both poignant stories about the disruption and disorder that results from not being where we want to be in life and living in denial of that sad truth.
  6. 11
    Death in the Afternoon by Ernest Hemingway (GYKM)
  7. 00
    Dangerous Friends by Peter Viertel (SnootyBaronet)
    SnootyBaronet: Hemingway's friend Viertel describes the making of the disastrous film of Sun Also Rises.
  8. 01
    A Moveable Feast by Ernest Hemingway (John_Vaughan)
Europe (24)
Read (37)
Books (40)
1920s (4)
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English (282)  Swedish (3)  Spanish (3)  Dutch (2)  Norwegian (1)  Italian (1)  German (1)  Hebrew (1)  All languages (294)
Showing 1-5 of 282 (next | show all)
I want to hate it for its chauvinism, but find I can't. I can't argue with the man's phrasing, or his grasp of language, or the realness of his characters. Even Brett -- a woman who is both beastly and heartbreaking to read about, and who is loved for an obscure quality that goes mostly unexplained -- is real, at least in so far as she is explained (only in relation to the men around her). Chauvinism? Sure. But whatever. This isn't a novel about men and women but about the sadness that comes from giving up and giving in. I prefer to think it is the moments of stark sanity (the waiter in the Pamplona cafe, the fishing trip, Montoya's scenes), rather than the lugubrious, drunken backdrop of faithlessness and false cheer, that define the novel. It is without a doubt finely crafted and exquisitely written. I'm just not sure it passes the modern relevancy test, and that is why it gets 4 stars instead of 5. ( )
  jdegagne | Apr 23, 2022 |
Another Hemingway disappointment. Written like a journal, a US Newspaperman stationed in Paris documents a short period in his life amongst his quasi-dysfunctional friends. His imagery is bland, the conversations are banal, the plot is non-existent, and the drunkenness is continual.

To make matters worse I read this immediately following a re-read of Jane Eyre. Hemingway couldn‘t touch the bottom of Bronte‘s shoe if he were on a step ladder. ( )
  282Mikado | Apr 13, 2022 |
The debut novel by Ernest Hemingway is arguably the best book he ever wrote. It was an instant bestseller and is today considered probably “the” book of his generation. Published in 1926, between the end of World War I and the beginning of the Great Depression, it captured the mood of the “Lost Generation”. These were war wounded souls for whom life’s peacetime events seemed insignificant. Many like those in this book stayed behind in Europe and indulged themselves in lives that would have provoked scandal back home.

In fact, The Sun Also Rises was considered scandalous by many when published, including Hemingway’s own mother, who reportedly wrote to the author that his was “one of the filthiest books of the year”, and that “every page fills me with sick loathing.”

Back then the scandal about the book had to do with its use of swear words and its depiction of “loose morals” in the relationships between the male and female characters. More recently the book has been criticized for the antisemitism and bigotry of its characters - the derogatory language used about the Jewish character Robert Cohn, and the use of both the N word (repeatedly) and the F word - as well as its realistic depiction of bull fighting.

The story is told through the eyes of Jake Barnes, an American news reporter in Paris whose war wounds have left him impotent. He is surrounded by a group of friends, American and British. The English Lady Brett Ashley proclaims her love for Jake but given his inability to have sex they both realize they’ll never be more than confidants and close friends.

The main action in the book is the result of a love triangle around Brett that plays out on a trip to Pamplona, Spain where the group goes to take part in the Fiesta de San Fermin. They take part in the annual running of the bulls and are daily spectators at the bull fights. There is much drinking and partying.

It's clear that Hemingway sees bullfighting as a metaphor for manliness. Jake’s love of bull fighting is in some sense a compensation for his own perceived lack of manliness given his war wounds. He is a true aficionado of bullfighting, and he takes the time to let us know that he's recognized as such by the Spaniards he has befriended in Pamplona. Bullfighting means even more than that to Hemingway, who wrote later that attending a bull fight is like watching a great tragedy - like “having a ringside seat at the war with nothing going to happen to you.” The tragedy that surrounds the bullfighting in the book mirrors the misadventure that the happy trip of Barnes and his friends becomes.

Given that Brett is the epitome of the 1920s New Woman - liberated and promiscuous - it’s not unexpected that she falls for the handsome young bullfighter. This, despite being accompanied by her supposed fiance Michael on the trip to Pamplona and having just completed a dalliance with Robert Cohn. Cohn keeps hanging around though others in the group (especially the would be fiance) repeatedly urge him to just go away.

Through it all, even through the fist fight at the climax of the book, Jake remains detached while still a part of events, a reflection of the detachment of his whole lost generation.

It's Hemingway’s writing style that makes the book transcend its story of lost souls spending their prime in partying and dissipation. The spareness and understatedness he’s known for is at a peak in this book. It’s a real pleasure to read.

When it comes to classics like this it doesn't feel right to assign them a rating (I've thrown a 3 on this LibraryThing review as a "neutral" response hoping not to throw off the average too much). What I will say is that I thoroughly enjoyed re-reading this book and would recommend it highly to anyone who has not yet read it. ( )
  stevesbookstuff | Jan 24, 2022 |
This is one of those classics of the terse Hemingway style. I believe I imitated it for weeks after reading it. There's lots of interesting big themes at work in the novel, but I enjoy it simply for its finely observed portrait of the Lost Generation drinking class--and for its great description of the bull fighting milieu when the setting shifts from Paris to Spain. ( )
  stevepilsner | Jan 3, 2022 |
It makes me want to travel. =) ( )
  JorgeousJotts | Dec 3, 2021 |
Showing 1-5 of 282 (next | show all)

Published in 1926 to explosive acclaim, The Sun Also Rises stands as perhaps the most impressive first novel ever written by an American writer. A roman à clef about a group of American and English expatriates on an excursion from Paris's Left Bank to Pamplona for the July fiesta and its climactic bull fight, a journey from the center of a civilization spiritually bankrupted by the First World War to a vital, God-haunted world in which faith and honor have yet to lose their currency, the novel captured for the generation that would come to be called "Lost" the spirit of its age, and marked Ernest Hemingway as the preeminent writer of his time
added by Lemeritus | editWorldCat
 
No amount of analysis can convey the quality of "The Sun Also Rises." It is a truly gripping story, told in a lean, hard, athletic narrative prose that puts more literary English to shame. Mr. Hemingway knows how not only to make words be specific but how to arrange a collection of words which shall betray a great deal more than is to be found in the individual parts. It is magnificent writing, filled with that organic action which gives a compelling picture of character. This novel is unquestionably one of the events of an unusually rich year in literature.
 

» Add other authors (92 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Ernest Hemingwayprimary authorall editionscalculated
Adsuar, JoaquínTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Bruccoli, Matthew J.Introductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Cannon, PamelaCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Coindreau, Maurice-EdgarTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
D'Achille, GinoCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Horschitz-Horst, AnnemarieTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hurt, WilliamNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Larsen, GunnarTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Prévost, JeanPrefacesecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Ringnes, HaagenAfterwordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Scholz, WilhemCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Tóibín, ColmIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed

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Epigraph
"You are all a lost generation." -- Gertrude Stein in conversation
"One generation passeth away, and another generation cometh; but the earth abideth forever... The sun also ariseth, and the sun goeth down, and hasteth to the place where he arose...The wind goeth toward the south, and turneth about unto the north; it whirleth about continually, and the wind returneth again according to his circuits...All the rivers run into the sea; yet the sea is not full; unto the place from whence the rivers come, thither they return again." -- Ecclesiastes
Dedication
This book is for Hadley and John Hadley Nicanor
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Robert Cohn was once middleweight boxing champion of Princeton.
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They only want to kill when they're alone.
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Disambiguation notice
Published under two titles:
The Sun Also Rises
Fiesta
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A story of expatriate Americans and British living in Paris after the First World War.

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Book description
At the beginning of The Sun Also Rises, Hemingway's first novel, he quotes Gertrude Stein as saying “You are all a lost generation.” He and his peers were soon known as “The Lost Generation,” a nickname still used for these post World War I artists and writers and their modern style.

With the book's publication in 1926, the American expatriate community in Paris tried to identify the originals of the characters. Jake Barnes seemed to bear a close resemblance in some ways to Robert McAlmon and in others to William Bird; Lady Brett Ashley was considered a portrait of Lady Duff Twysden; Robert Cohn a version of Harold Loeb; Mike Campbell a version of Patrick Guthrie; and Bill Gorton patterned after Hemingway's pal Donald Ogden Stewart.

Lady Duff Twysden, an Englishwoman born Mary Smurthwaite, was an aristocrat by marriage to her second husband. Known as a hard drinker, Twysden was popular with the mainly male ex-pat crowd. She embodied the new liberated woman of the 1920s and photos of her at the time show a tall, thin boyish-looking woman with short hair. She was also fond of referring to herself as a “chap."

Lady Brett dominates the novel, even when she's not present.  Jake drinks a lot but Brett drinks more. Brett goes from relationship to relationship. And Brett makes a connection between the major male characters in the novel — Barnes, Cohn, and Romero.

Many people were angered by some of the portrayals. However, the novel won rave reviews. The New York Times said its “hard athletic narrative prose puts more literary English to shame."
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