I’ve been reading Hemingway again, the short stories in particular. When I was a kid, “For Whom the Bell Tolls” was one of my favorite novels. I must have read it three or four times before I finally moved on. I’m not sure why I stopped reading Hemingway. I read “A Farewell to Arms” but wasn’t as taken with it as I was with “For Whom the Bell Tolls,” and that ended my interest. In high school, I read some sort of writing book in which he was cited. His advice was to cut down the sentence to nothing. I kind of wish I knew which textbook it was that we read. I distinctly remember it being in an AP Language and Literature class during my junior year, but I could be mistaken.

For some reason, his advice stayed with me. I suppose this was mostly because I had loved “For Whom the Bell Tolls” so much, and revered him for a time.

The story that stays with me now is “A Clean, Well-Lighted Place,” as well as “Hills Like White Elephants,” and “The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber.” In each of these stories, there’s a wonderful sense of tension that is not necessarily resolved. I think Hemingway’s talent is letting the story end without making it end. So many modern stories have an ending instead of being open ended, which takes something away. You can’t often really say what Hemingway’s stories are about, which is what makes him so great to read.

Happy holidays.

6 thoughts on “Hemingway

  1. “The Short Happy Life of Francis Mancomber” is one of my favorite stories by Hemingway. It's full, vivid, has all this passion and energy even though the characters are completely cynical and have the blood drained out of them. I wrote a small blurb of it on someone else's LJ while I was talking about my 2009 reads, and ironically, I was also complaining (as usual) about my abusive relationship with Hemingway and about the Finca Vigia collection: “Quintessential for anyone who wants to wank off to this guy. Hemingway continually pissed me off, and effectually, I developed a bad opinion about him – the kind of bad opinion that is the premise for a delectably horrible romance comedy. I find him vain, lazy, moody, misogynistic, and horribly delusional, but man, do I love this guy. One of my favorite stories featured in this collection is one of its earliest, “The Happy Life of Francis Mancomber,” which includes everything Hemingway is about: loveless marriage, safari hunting, and irresolution. Lmao. It's a ph/fat collection.” [http://gilee7.livejournal.com/5025.html?thread=27297#t27297]

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