Monday, January 4, 2010

A Farewell To Arms.

Author : Ernest Miller Hemingway
Genre : Historical Fiction
Rating : 7.5/10

"If people bring so much courage to this world, the world has to kill them to break them. So of course it kills them. The world breaks everyone and afterwards many are strong at the broken places. But those that it will not break, it kills. It kills the very good and the very gentle and the very brave impartially. If you are none of these, you can be sure it will kill you too, but there will be no special hurry."

The book surprised me. After what seems like ages of having read works with too much matter and too little art, too much to think about and too little to visualize, I had lost my patience for Hemingway. Particularly since my previous experiences with him have been limited to his short stories, which I am a fan of. Yet, those were all small doses. And I had lost my taste for prose that makes you hear the chirping of the birds, that compels you to imagine the color of the flowers and the chill of the breeze it speaks about. About little details like the bits of paper strewn around the sidewalk, the glint in the bartender's eyes, and the likes. But this brought me back. With it's rich narrative and almost a constant digressional strain, that drifts away from everything you would expect from a book written about the first world war. It took me a while to warm up to it, but once I did, I enjoyed it thoroughly. The ending surprises you with it's abruptness. It grips you by the throat and haunts you for quite some time. Which is great, because I never liked happy endings anyway.


Tangled up in blue... said...

I've only read The Old Man and the Sea and A Movable Feast..I found him very to-the-point in both, I want so much to go out and buy this right now! :)

Sherry Wasandi said...

Strangely, I've never read his most famous works(The ones you mentioned). A Farewell to Arms was me making amends in that direction. The Old Man and the Sea will follow.

However, his style here was very similar to his short stories. He plays with semi-consequential details all through it. I've begun to associate that with him, in particular.

JD said...

This one is my favourite. My dad handed me Old Man and the Sea when I was 10, and told me THIS is how you write a book - keep it brief, keep it simple. I've been hooked since.

And about the ending, I couldn't agree more. "Haunting" is more fitting than most things there!

Sherry Wasandi said...

Now I REALLY have to read The Old Man and the Sea. :)