I can admire a writer who is not too flowery and verbose. I have always liked to get to the point rather quickly myself when writing an email or blog post. So I was curious to read Hemingway and check out his style since all I really knew was that it is spare and has spawned some Bad Hemingway short story contests. I know Hemingway was a reporter, a larger than life character, heavy drinker and he killed himself. I know the plots to many of his most famous works. But I hadn’t actually read any of his books.
I was at the library to pick up a few holds and decided to pull up Boxall’s list of 1001 Books and Hemingway’s The Sun Also Rises rose to the top. It was on hand so I picked I up. So now I’m going to give a shameless plug to a good idea of a Kickstarter project–Start Here. This is a book I want–a list all the great writers you’ve wanted to read with advice on which books to start with.
So I get why this book is famous–lost generation, running of the bulls in Pamplona, bullfights, but it did start slow for me. It took me a while to figure out who was who–Mike, Robert, Jake… especially in running dialogue. The first quarter of the book establishes that these characters are some pretty heavy partiers just kicking around Europe. Then finally some movement when they take off from Paris to Spain. They fish, they drink, they attend the fiesta in Pamplona, they fight, they drink. By the time they hit Pamplona I was hooked. I wanted to know why all these men were in love with Brett. And why Jake the narrator or any of the men put up with her. And then of course she essentially asks that herself with her “I don’t want to be a bitch” speech. It is truly a great story and captures the feeling of a time and place.