The Sun Also Rises

Rating: 0

Ernest Hemmingway

I'd never read any Hemmingway before and found this fairly short one used so I figured I'd try it out. It wasn't bad but it didn't leave me excited to read anything by Hemmingway again.

The general plot follows a group of Americans of fairly well-off means as they travel around Europe enjoying themselves and drinking entirely too much for their own good. The narrator is one of these Americans, and he actually has a job working at a newspaper (not that he spends much time there), unlike his friends who have no employment besides enjoying themselves. He fought in WWII (I assume this is "the war" they refer to; major embarrassment if my time line is off here) and, it is strongly implied, lost his genitals in battle which leads to him having difficulties resolving his affection for a woman of his acquaintance. Fortunately, most of the other men in the group have trouble with their affection for this woman as well so he is in good company.

As the book goes on, some of these men go on a fishing trip, others just wander, they meet up to go to a big bull fight festival, and we get to watch the whole thing. I'm not so interested in fishing or bull fighting, even though the later is supposedly something of an art that some people find quite aesthetic, so those parts of the book didn't appeal to me so much. In addition, there isn't a page that goes by that somebody isn't drinking; reading about all that alcohol nearly gave me a lightheaded headache in sympathy.

But, on the plus side, I must admit that Hemmingway has an interesting writing style. His descriptions of the towns they stayed in and the crowds and the feeling of the places were quite good. I had good vague pictures of the characters, though I don't feel like I ever got to know them and their motivations. Even the narrator remained an unknown that I wish I had got to understand better.

Given that it was a fairly short book, I don't feel it was a waste of my time, but can't say that I would positively recommend it. Hence, the 0 ranking.


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