|The Sun Also Rises
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The Sun Also Rises first appeared in 1926, and yet it's as fresh and clean and fine as it ever was, maybe finer. Hemingway's famously plain declarative sentences linger in the mind like poetry: "Brett was damned good-looking. She wore a slipover jersey sweater and a tweed skirt, and her hair was brushed back like a boy's. She started all that." His cast of thirtysomething dissolute expatriates--Brett and her drunken fianc¨¦, Mike Campbell, the unhappy Princeton Jewish boxer Robert Cohn, the sardonic novelist Bill Gorton--are as familiar as the "cool crowd" we all once knew. No wonder this quintessential lost-generation novel has inspired several generations of imitators, in style as well as lifestyle.
Jake Barnes, Hemingway's narrator with a mysterious war wound that has left him sexually incapable, is the heart and soul of the book. Brett, the beautiful, doomed English woman he adores, provides the glamour of natural chic and sexual unattainability. Alcohol and post-World War I anomie fuel the plot: weary of drinking and dancing in Paris caf¨¦s, the expatriate gang decamps for the Spanish town of Pamplona for the "wonderful nightmare" of a week-long fiesta. Brett, with fianc¨¦ and ex-lover Cohn in tow, breaks hearts all around until she falls, briefly, for the handsome teenage bullfighter Pedro Romero. "My God! he's a lovely boy," she tells Jake. "And how I would love to see him get into those clothes. He must use a shoe-horn." Whereupon the party disbands.
But what's most shocking about the book is its lean, adjective-free style. The Sun Also Rises is Hemingway's masterpiece--one of them, anyway--and no matter how many times you've read it or how you feel about the manners and morals of the characters, you won't be able to resist its spell. This is a classic that really does live up to its reputation. --David Laskin
The quintessential novel of the Lost Generation, The Sun Also Rises is one of Ernest Hemingway's masterpieces and a classic example of his spare but powerful writing style. A poignant look at the disillusionment and angst of the post-World War I generation, the novel introduces two of Hemingway's most unforgettable characters: Jake Barnes and Lady Brett Ashley. The story follows the flamboyant Brett and the hapless Jake as they journey from the wild nightlife of 1920s Paris to the brutal bullfighting rings of Spain with a motley group of expatriates. It is an age of moral bankruptcy, spiritual dissolution, unrealized love, and vanishing illusions. First published in 1926, The Sun Also Rises helped to establish Hemingway as one of the greatest writers of the twentieth century
- A very dark sun
The Sun Also Rises, published in 1926, is Hemingway's great first novel about the aftermath of World War I on a group of Americans living in Paris in the 1920's. Its' view of life is bleak almost to a fault to the very end; but it has a kind of sparse poetic grace in its' descriptive language (though at times this leads to ambiguity of meaning), and the greatness is a product of this extremely original narrative style (to my experience) executed to perfect emotional and tonal effect.
It's a new kind of stream of consciousness: not flashy, jazzy and allusive like Joyce, Woolf, or (three years later) Faulkner; but instead a steady chain of observations from the inner thoughts of someone who is sane, experienced, and who looks to report reality with a kind of shell-shocked, bunker objectivity; and whose emotions come through in the cynical realism one might expect from a survivor of an apocalypse.
The emotion underneath the cynicism is subtle, and its impact is cumulative. It develops as one comes to trust Hemingway as a truth-teller. The narrator and main character tells a story of aimless and pleasure-less indulgence, in which war trauma (physical and psychological) is the felt but unspoken source and context of all the emptiness in the characters' actions.
Jake Barnes is the narrator and is the owner of the consciousness being so artfully described. But Brett Ashley, the woman he loves and can't get away from, is the vortex of all the emotional action. She is a woman who loves Jake and is not deceptive to him, yet because he can't satisfy her she uses other men for sex. She also has a conscience of some kind, so she occasionally struggles to manage the side-effects of her cold impulsiveness. She is a remarkable character in that clearly she is damaged like Jake (psychically if not physically), and yet she has a unique power that none of the men do, and in watching how she uses that power, one cannot decide to the very end of the story if she is more or less of a person than Jake, or if she has courage, or is worth much sympathy, or if her conscience is fully developed. Her deep complexity (and how it makes the reader react) is the greatest accomplishment in this story, but it is also perhaps its' most cynical statement in a book filled with such cynicism, about the powerlessness that emotionally damaged humans have over their own will. The book has a great last line which sums up all of this tough-minded despair.
It may be a matter of opinion as to whether 'The Sun Also Rises' is a classic tragedy or just a well-executed exercise in morbid masochism. In any case, it is unforgettable.
- Hemingway at his best
A timeless classic -- that still moves me, even now - years after my first reading!...more info
- Bitter sweet
I'm Jake. Jacob Barnes. American journalist. Living in Paris. I send off my cables. I work hard for a couple of hours. I put the stories in big manila envelopes. And send them out. That brings in the money.
French? I speak French.
Spanish? I speak Spanish.
Don't think I've got it made. I don't. The War did bad things to me. The War wounded me. Physically. Okay, I survived. Some say the wound was worse than dying.
I have a girlfriend. Brett. Brett Ashley. Lady Ashley. She got "Lady" from a past marriage. Everyone loves Brett. She is a remarkably attractive woman. And she loves that everyone -- all the men -- love her.
I love her, and she loves me. Deeply. That's the end of it. We know that I can't consummate anything. Physically I cannot get it on. That's the War wound. We can kiss, and she shivers. But that's it.
"We kissed standing at the door. She pushed me away. We kissed again. 'Oh, don't!' Brett said."
The wound hurts me and the wound hurts her. So, she sleeps around. With all the guys in our group that she is attracted to. And others not in our group. Like the daring young, very young bullfighter later on. And with others she is not attracted to. Like the ex-champion boxer from Princeton, who is a Jew, sometime author, and magazine publisher. The Jew keeps hanging on. She would like to be rid of him. But he keeps hanging on.
Brett does not have independent income. The boys, the men, who love her take care of her. Drinks. Food. Hotel rooms. Sometimes they go on short trips.
All of us do a lot of drinking. A lot of drinking. We drink in the morning. We drink at lunch. We drink in the afternoon. We drink at dinner. We drink in the evening. We drink during the night. All night. We drink. Good stuff.
We all love hanging out. Going out. To the bars. Inside the bars. Outside the bars. At tables. And drinking. We get drunk. Hung over. Feel bad.
And arguing. Fighting even. Sure, and sometimes we hike. We walk through Paris. The Tuileries. By the Seine. Or out in the towns. In the woods. We play some tennis.
In Paris you can see anyone you want. South Americans. Americans. The English.
A bunch of us decide to hire a car and driver to go to Spain for some fishing in the mountains and for the fiesta at Pamplona. Others go by train.
My friend Bill and I ride a crowded bus to the mountains. We sit with many on top of the bus. The riders pass around leather wine-bottles. Lifted high, the wine streams down to your mouth. Good fun. Laughing. Good camaraderie.
We reach the river. We have worms and fishing flies and catch a lot of trout. We hide wine bottles in the cold river. The bottles get very cold.
Back to Pamplona. The others arrive in time for the fiesta. The fiesta explodes. The street is solid with dancers. The fiesta goes on for seven days and nights.
I go to sleep in my room. I wake to a rocket exploding, announcing the release of the bulls from the edge of town. From my balcony the street is empty. Suddenly the street is filled with people running. And the bulls running on the way to the ring. The bulls toss several runners.
In the ring the bullfights begin. The purest and most exciting fighter is Pedro Romero. Everyone sees the bulls goring the picadors' horses and goring the steers brought into the ring. Romero is nineteen. Brett is in her thirties. She has eyes only for him.
In a restaurant in the evening, our group strikes up a conversation with Romero's table. Introductions all around.
Brett confesses she is a goner for Romero.
Later, more about Brett and Romero. And about Brett and myself. About Paris. And Madrid. But . . . not right now.
- "He calls her Circe," Mike said.
It seems that most people read these books as a part of high school. I never read anything until a year ago when I picked up a copy of The Old Man and the Sea, which I liked. This year a friend of mine was sent ten copies of this by the publisher as a gift. Who am I to refuse?
Hemingway, I think, is one of our national treasures for a number of reasons. Obviously, his sense of journalistic integrity helped him become the novelist that he is. But this book isn't just good because of the style. Hemingway also has a knack for choosing to write about things that are inherently wrenching and interesting.
The story, essentially about a man castrated by the war and his doomed half-love for a slutty, spoiled ex-girlfriend, is backgrounded by a vacation in Spain, where Jake, the main character, and his friends go fishing before the fiesta of the running of the bulls. The drama behind this intimate almost-love-affair is what really puts this book over the top and where it becomes a masterpiece. The descriptions of Spain, of water, of simple pleasures, of bullfighting, of eating, of getting drunk, of fighting, of swimming, are almost grotesquely beautiful; they will turn your heart over.
When it comes down to it, however, it's clear that Hemingway made an intelligent, clear stance. He's not just a writer, he's a master; and his writing style is one that he chose because he understood both that he was gifted with an incomparable grace and how to manage its effects to their most extreme. To quote him:
"She saw how close Romero always worked to the bull, and I pointed out to her the tricks the other bullfighters used to make it look as theough they were working closely . . . Romero's bullfighting gave real emotion, because he kept the absolute purity of the line in his movements and always quietly and calmly let the horns pass him close each time. He did not have to emphasize their closeness . . . Romero had the old thing, the holding of his purity of line through the maximum of exposure, while he dominated the bull by making him realize he was unattainable, while he prepared him for the killing."...more info
- A True Classic
The Sun Also Rises turned out to be quite a remarkable read and a novel worthy of classic status. It is absolutely amazing how much symbolism and hidden meaning Hemingway can sneak in through his distinctive clear and simple prose style. On the other hand, if you are not paying attention and miss the implied messages then this novel will strike you as nothing particularly special.
The book is about a group of American and English expatriates residing in Paris during the 1920s. They live aimless, purposeless lives after World War I because their whole value system has been shaken up. They are members of the "Lost Generation", a term popularized by this very book. Although the plot is simplistic, with Jake Barnes and his friends traveling to Spain for the Pamplona fiesta, the brilliance of the novel shines through in the relationships and dialogue between characters. The rambunctious Lady Brett Ashley is the target of four men's desires and Hemingway uses her to exemplify the destructiveness of sex and the male insecurity felt after World War I. It is a world where everyone drowns their sorrows in alcohol. The novel ends in an outstanding description of a bull-fight and on a hopeful, wishing note.
The novel opened my eyes to how drastic the effects of WWI were on soldiers and how disenchanted some of them became with prewar values and notions. I also was truly impressed by Hemingway's bullfighting descriptions and how he made them seem almost like poetic events. The characters were likable and compelling, too, and gave the novel much life even without an enchanting plot. Although I couldn't relate to the characters all that well, I'm sure someone who has had more of life's experiences will have no trouble doing so. Altogether, Hemingway created a novel that changed the literary world forever and will leave a lasting impression in many minds for generations to come - it sure did in mine.
- My Favorite Book
This is a spectacular piece of work. Written by any other author, this would still be a great work, but Hemingway's command of language is astounding. His prose is so beautiful and bracing and elegant - it defies adequate description. ...more info
- Out of respect
The Sun Also Rises by Hemingway the second time around was a disappointment. The first reading, many years ago, was a disappointment too but I chalked that opinion up to immaturity on my part. What do I chalk it up to now? I don't know. Anyway, I have to say I'm not the least bit impressed. I'm going to press on though, hoping to grasp why the New York Times said, "...a truly gripping story, told in lean, hard athletic prose...magnificent." I went to the local library today and checked out The Old Man and the Sea.
Marvin Wiebener, author of The Margin, a mystery novel of lost treasure with interesting characters and an unlikely outcome. You won't be disappointed....more info
- Great Writing, View Into A Different Age - Recommended
"The Sun Also Rises" was required reading when I was in school (oh so many years ago) but little of the book stayed with me. On my recent second reading I now recall why this book is considered to be one of the greats.
Hemingway is a master story teller and this book includes some of the best character interaction I have ever read. The locations and plots lines are well handled, as are the insites into the issues and morals of post WWI Europe. What I forgot was how much I disliked almost all of the characters in the story. Every last one is shallow, weak, and flawed in major ways. Hemingway did a great job showing us the human side of his characters and still kept the book interesting.
Truely a master work of fiction - Highly recommended!...more info
- Classical Hemingway, need I say more?
Actually, I shall say a bit more. If you are looking for a cliche product of Hemingway, search no farther. It has a great style, flow, great diction. However, it is a very dry story. Through symbolism and imagery and anecdotes, Hemingway manages to describe a theme that could have been described in two paragraphs. Suggested for Hemingway fans. Not so much for anyone else....more info
- Good story, great style
It's tough to say anything bad about this a classic, always included in "Best Novels of the 20th Century" lists. The story is about a group of partying American ex-patriots living in Paris, and their weeklong sojourn to Spain. It's full of drunkenness, love triangles and assorted debauchery. But the strength of the novel is the style. Although the book was originally published in 1926, it still feels fresh. Sure, some of the language and details are dated, but it's hard to miss how much Hemingway's style influenced modern writing. It's sharp and insightful, with crisp dialogue and characters that are all relatable in one way or another. While I wouldn't put it on my list of favorite books, the style alone is worth the read. ...more info
- A NOD TOWARD THE 'LOST GENERATION'
There is no question that this is Hemingway's best literary effort. Other works are more politically appealing, informative or just plain readable but this story of some of the American and Europeon denizens of the post-World War I "lost generation" their trials, tribulations and inner horrors is literature in the grand style. A sparse story line and, on a quick reading, seemingly one-dimensional characters represented a break through in modern novel writing and won Hemingway his first just acclaim as an author. A second reading gives a much better understanding of just what ails this cast of characters and either gains our sympathy for their plight especially the narrator or makes us run away in horror at the futility of their lives. As an aside- in a novel this assortment of bedeviled characters make for great reading but in real life one would not want to spend more that about seven minutes with them. Being part of the 'lost generation' did not mean that one was exempt from the laws of boredom or being boring.
Okay, so much for the literary end now comes the real question. Who was better at getting to the core of post-World War I angst- Fitzgerald with his 'lost generation' in America or Hemingway with his 'lost generation' in Europe? That is a different question that the literary merits of Hemingway's work. Sorry, Ernest but Scott just had a flat out better ear for the pathos of that generation. Is there any better understanding of such tensions than The Great Gatsby? In consolation Ernest wrote better war stories. By far.
- After the party
Ernest Hemingway's classic novel explores the dissipated lives of expatriates in Europe in the years following WWI, most notably the ill-fated pair of Jake Barnes, who suffers from an emasculating war wound, and Lady Brett Ashley, the beautiful woman who entrances every man she meets but shares emotional intimacy only with Jake.
We are treated to the caf¨¦ lifestyle of the Lost Generation in Paris, followed by a trip to Pamplona to witness the running of the bulls, all of it liberally lubricated by alcohol. But despite the nearly non-stop pleasure-seeking, there is very little joy for the characters in this book. It all has the feel of a party that has gone on too long; the party-goers become irritated with each other because they should have all gone back to their "real" lives long ago. Unfortunately, they are not sure what their real lives should consist of, so they grasp at temporary relationships that always end badly, leaving them ever more jaded and unsatisfied. This is dramatized powerfully by the cloud of men buzzing around the lovely and charming Brett, who abandons each in turn when the threat of physical and emotional intimacy becomes too great. It is Jake's inability to perform the physical act of love that enables their extended emotional connection, making him the person she turns to after each failed affair. I suspect that if Jake were not wounded as he is, she would flee from him as well, and the final paragraphs of the novel make it clear that Jake thinks so, too.
If there are few pleasures for the characters, there are many for the reader. In addition to Hemingway's masterful depiction of character, the novel works as a travelogue, particularly in his wonderful evocation of Spain. This novel is rightly considered to be a classic.
- 250 pages of pure vacuum
It's somewhat of a mystery to me that some readers appear to have enjoyed reading this. In this book, Jake, a World War I veteran now a journalist, and his acquaintances go from bistrot to bistrot in Paris, then in Spain. They drink and look at the landscapes. Then they go to bed. Then they take the train. Then the have dinner. The most action you get is when they go to fish trout in the Pyrenees; one guy catches big trouts and the other one catches smaller trouts.
On an emotional level, nothing happens either. The character, i.e. Jake, Lady Ashley and a couple other guys, seem unable to meaningfully connect to each other in any way. They really just hang out, drink, date, and then break up. They have some petty conflicts with each other, but honestly, who cares. Usually if there is no action in a novel, at least there is some valuable insights into the human heart; none of that here. Just "I felt good"; "I felt bad"; "they had a drink" and then they went to bed (separately, mind you).
I would pass on that.
- Needs to be reread every few years
First read "The Sun Also Rises" in 1980 and reread it every couple of years. It should be enjoy at least 5 time a decade. ...more info
- The Emperor Has No Clothes
I've been looking forward to reading this novel for a long time, as Hemingway is considered one of the greatest American writers who ever lived. Sorry folks, but I can't believe this pile of garbage is considered an all time classic. If I wrote this and took it to a publisher he would have thrown it in the garbage after a few minutes. I can't believe so many people gave this meandering, meaningless piece of trash all the stellar reviews. I will never read another Hemingway...and I was looking forward to reading them all....more info
- The Sun Does Indeed Look Bright
As a young man I took the opportunity of a lifetime to spend a year living and traveling abroad in Spain. Upon making this life altering choice, I began researching what novels I could read that could give me a glimpse into spanish culture--enter "The Sun Also Rises" by Ernest Hemingway. At that point in my young life, I had never read any of Hemingway's works; since reading this, I've read the majority of his other works which, while mostly they were well written and enjoyable, no other book I've read, Hemingway or other, has had the same impact on me as "The Sun Also Rises."
Many reviews will break down the story line and interpretations of the relationships in the book, what I can say to you is that I am a mid-twenties male, married with a daughter, I love travel and sport, enjoy good wines, used to enjoy partying a bit too much, and am a bit of a guy's guy, and this is hands down the best book I've ever read. My home library is not as extensive as I'd like to say, but I have began collecting this fantastic novel in as many editions as possible, simply because each year when I open the front cover, I know that I'm going to be gripped just as tightly by the story as I was that first time.
It's a simple read, and a quick one. But be warned, you will want to read it again and again...and again....more info
- Beauty in words
Ernest Hemmingway in his unique style delivers a masterpiece in adult fiction. His prose is concise and words beauty known only to the reader. He creates a wonderful atmosphere of the locations and his character's travel through the landscape and through emotions is captured exceptionally well.
This is a timeless classic. There is nothing I can say to convince anyone to read it. The characters are well-developed. There is love and passion and pain and beauty. The world that Hemmingway recreates belongs with these characters. The book launched a successful career and in me it set in motion the desire to read everything ever written by this brilliant writer.
- The classic of American modernism
All I can say is that the people who have rated this book with a low score are missing the point. This is a beautifully written book. The complaints that nothing happens and all the characters do is drink, fight, and fish is because this is a book about the LACK of meaning in post-WWI society. Meaninglessness IS the message. If you seek to understand modernism, this is the best novel for that purpose....more info
- This is how Great Novelists Debut
What am I going to read next to top this?
That may be your first thought as you silently absorb the last lines of this superlative novel. It sure was mine. As with "Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man" this is one of the greatest debuts of any novelist and a modernist masterpiece. However, unlike "Portrait" this is not a bildungsroman. The closest Hemingway ever had to a Stephen Daedalus is Nick Adams and he is forever relegated to the short stories. From this novel going forward all the main characters are going to be the adult Hemingway and his experiences, albeit with a tagged on name.
Twain, whom Hemingway regarded as the greatest American novelist, is a clear influence on the breezy travelogue prose here. I'm reminded of of the kinetic stagecoach experiences of "Roughing It." If Twain sounds old remember that Hemingway was much closer in time to Twain than we are to Hemingway. Twain died just 16 years before the publication of "The Sun Also Rises" when Hemingway was 27 years old. However, I sense impressionism was also an influence in the simple broad brush he paints with when describing landscapes. In fact, I know it was via his autobiographical "A Moveable Feast." This is what informs his Zen style. A river, some trees, a patch of strawberries growing on the side of the mountain...you're in an impressionist landscape once they hit the Spanish countryside.
It is in this effortless prose that you go cruising right along into the Paris of the twenties, fishing in Basque country, and fiesta in Pamplona. Be prepared also to drink, drink, drink. It's Prohibition but we're not in protestant America, we're in the greatest city of a continent that has been drinking for thousands of years.
Twain influence notwithstanding, this no freewheeling jaunt of quaint misadventures sprinkled with Southwestern humor. We're in the post-WWI, post-Spanish influenza (which killed vastly more souls than the war) years of modernism and that means godless ennui, absinthe, and the Lost Generation: arty expats saturated with drink and (self-inflicted) heartache in Paris.
Some reader commented "I don't get it." You're not supposed to "get it." If you want to "get it" go read a Tom Clancy novel. This is about poignant irony - a high class flapper slut and a castrated vet in love with each other but forever apart. This is about wanting what you cannot have and dealing with it in one of two ways: the WASP-y approach of repression and stoicism (Jake), or the emotional way by drinking yourself stupid (Mike) or imploding and hurling yourself at others (Cohn). This is a bitter Je ne sais quoi ode to the unconsummated longings of expatriate Americans and Brits in 1920's Paris and it's not meant to be understood, simply experienced. Happy endings are impossible here.
But the characters' sexcapades and drinking are only the story - the rest is the poetry of Hemingway: the river, the Basques on the bus, the festival of San Fermin and of course the bullfights. Because Hemingway is so associated with the bullfights you expect the running of the bulls to be a long descriptive event in the novel and it's a nice surprise when it is not. Jake, the narrator, is hungover and wakes up late and watches it from the balcony of his hotel then goes back to bed. When they run again he sleeps through it. Whatever your preconceptions are about Hemingway it won't matter - everything in this book reads fresh and new and the prose is effortless and flows like the wine in the bota bags.
The closest Hemingway ever came to an artistic manifesto can be found not in his "iceberg analogy" interview with the Paris Review, but in the following quote from him:
"All good books are alike in that they are truer than if they had really happened and after you are finished reading one you will feel that all that happened to you and afterwards it all belongs to you; the good and the bad, the ecstasy, the remorse, and sorrow, the people and the places and how the weather was. If you can get so that you can give that to people, then you are a writer."
"The Sun Also Rises" is a classic example of the above. It strikes a wonderful balance between the drama of the characters and their settings. Their desires play out to a backdrop of clinking champagne glasses in Paris, they're given a brief reprieve in the fishing interlude, then take off on a rocket sled during the pagan revelry of the fiesta which assumes a lurid dimension when things all start to go the hell.
If you read this book mentally pack your bags because you're going on vacation from Paris to Spain with five friends. This will forever be in my top ten list of favorite novels. ...more info
- An American Classic
"The Sun Also Rises" is one of the classic novels in American literature that lives up to its reputation. This cynical take on the lives of American expatriates in Europe after WWI has a beautiful disconnected feel to it that anyone can relate to, and the doomed love between the protagonist and his ex-lover is palpable, and at times even heartwrenching.
But the best part about this book is the writing: Hemingway at his sparsest, most direct, and yet somehow most evocative despite himself. The barren wording is hypnotic in its subtle glory.
It's a great, quick, and easy read; there's really no reason not to pick this up....more info
- On Irony
Dave Foster Wallace urged writers to eschew irony. I feel the same way, and the reason is that for irony to have its effects the society at large must have a solid moral center of good permeating though it, like it did even after the first world war, although that center was by then seriously deteriorating. Then, when one reads a book like this, one clearly understands and is not afraid to feel the irony of this book; its amoral characters, and its nihilistic portrait.
By 2008, that center is nowhere to be found, and hence readers look for something else in any book; sympathize with the characters, to get something warm and true in the positive sense from the experience, to "enjoy" books, rather than learning a dry lesson (the spare prose helps) in the negative. These are atrocious characters. All of them, even Cohn to whom the center of good gravitates simply because he is an old world degenerate rather than a new world one. You don't go around beating people up. I don't know how clear I was in expressing my thoughts, but I feel that irony in writing has outlived its usefulness.
Also, these characters do not think, or do their best not to. They are bottom feeders on the evolutionary ladder who's only goal is to survive, not improve anyone elses lives including their own. They get drunk and seemingly take in sense perceptions like primative organisms, animals really. But they are people. Bret I can't stand, and Jake, well, what can one say? His lot in life is awful but still look how he copes with it. He gets drunk, loves a trecherous woman, takes exteme pleasure from the barberous Corrida, but I'm not judging, at least I don't want to do that, just to say that the whole senario is rather pathetic and sad.
Since this was the situation for some after the First World War, and this book now stands as a symbolic ode to its aftermath, I don't know. Maybe the world did unravel, but, I belive that chronicling the fact the way it's done in this book, cloaked in symbolic characters then, is, in my opinion, two long steps removed from what art is suppose to do.
I read this book in college and remember the fresh feeling I got as Hemingway puts you in a spare place and shows you around pretty well; the crisp air, the stark oulines of buildings and people. On this and final reading there was a glimmer of this, but, of course, when I first read it I didn't have the tools to think about it at all. And everything that really matters this time around totally eclipsed those immediate sensual lunges at a clean physical life.
- Running of the Bulls
"The Sun Also Rises" helped to put Pamplona on the map and showcased the sport of bullfighting to the world. Although the sport certainly was thriving in Spain before Hemingway's novel, it was he who helped introduce bullfighting to the world. Yet, his book could not have had such an impact if it was not imbued with a compelling story, vivid descriptions, and powerful imagery.
Hemingway explores the aimless lives and sexual exploits of Jake and his fellow compatriots in 1920s Paris. Veterans of World War I, these are members of the "Lost Generation", who spent their youth in foxholes in abominable conditions and have never fully recovered. Jake, literally, is impotent from a war wound, and the others show scars in their emotions and relationships with each other. Although there are no flashbacks to their horrific experiences, it is evident that the war weighs down on their minds and has had a profound impact on their philosophy of life. Although on the surface their carefree, promiscuous lifestyle may lend a sense of joy and fulfillment, despair and depression lie just beneath their surface, as evidenced by their excessive alcohol abuse. It is rare that either Jake or one of his cohorts are not intoxicated.
Although Jake may be literally impotent, the other male characters show a symbolic impotence in their approach toward their lives. The sexpot, Brett, has a tenuous hold on them, as she is the reason of the moment to live. Yet, their affairs with Brett ultimately leaves them cold and distant. Cohn, an ex-boxer and currently a writer of Jewish descent, is a scapegoat for all that goes wrong in their lives. Although he is no choir boy, Cohn becomes a punching bag for the others, both literally and figuratively, as their frustrations mount. The heightened sense of hostilities between Cohn and the others is not because of his Jewish heritage, but because of their own insecurities with their manhood, a direct result of the life-altering war.
Hemingway uses a direct, no-nonsense approach in his writing. There is neither flowery prose nor endless paragraphs of illustrative descriptions. Hemingway's words are power-packed and provide the most poignant imagery in the least amount of words. Hemingway does not mince words. It is his direct style that is, perhaps, his greatest asset, and that which has gained him fame.
Hemingway is at his best when describing the fiesta and bullfights with all its pomp and splendor. Even without a detailed description of the gore involved in bullfighting, Hemingway delivers to the reader a vivid and imaginative description of the event. A detailed picture is given of how the bulls are driven to their deaths, yet Hemingway maintains a tactful and elegant approach in his prose.
Overall, "The Sun Also Rises" provides great insight into the "Lost Generation", while providing an entertaining account of the Pamplona "Running of the Bulls" and the ensuing bullfight. This may be one of Hemingway's earlier works, but it is certainly one of his best. Superb.
- Interesting read
This book was chosen for our Book Club selection for this fall. While it's an "easy read", sometimes the dialogue in the text is difficult to follow. All in all, most members of our club are enjoying this classic....more info
- Maybe 3 1/2 stars
This book has to be considered in the time it was written to appreciate it. Some books are timeless--theme, characters, etc.--and others are best viewed in the year they were published. I think this is one of those books. For 1926, this would have been quite daring as a response to WWI, especially considering it was a new kind of war.
The novel doesn't really make explicit assertions or come to any definitive conclusions; it's more like holding a mirror up to society: this is what is going on. I liked the dialogue and found some of the banter funny, and I did not find all of the characters completely hopeless. These stories work best as a series of short stories (Fitzgerald, Yates are good examples), which are more like a set of snapshots. This book does read like a short story in parts, especially Part I, and it is a quick read.
I often see it on the Top 100 Novels lists, which is why I read it. I think many times the distinction is not made between most influential books, on which this title would definitely fall and best written books, on which I wouldn't place this title....more info
- Meeker Review
Havent finished it yet but i'm sure itll be great. The scribner clssics are a good little collection to have as well. ...more info
- Lost Generation and lost novel
that was my second novel of Hemingway. it is very easy read and there is no question about his unique way of writing in short dialogue style that was considered at that time as a new great prose.
the story itself ,I think,is boring and has no goal.it depicts the meaningless lives of different characters,especially Jake Barnes, middle aged man,impotent and alcoholic,who is in love with Brett Ashley,seductive and pretty woman.
Everybody in the book is lost ,seeking peace in alcohol and sex to the point of somebody is drinking and trying to have a "swell time" in every page.alcohol seemed like an escape from a rotten hopeless life and a cure of great depression in all characters.
Jake ,through his hidden sexual inferiority complex,sounds like a real nice man who tries his best in making Brett happy. He even arranges for her date with the bull fighter,Pedro Romero,who is half her age.
there is nothing in the story that you could describe as suspense,unexpected,exciting,optimistic or even natural. everything is focused on bitter depressed melancholy that doesn't make you sympathize with anyone,including the civil and courteous Robert Cohn who sounds from another planet.
this might be a book telling the real life of a lost generation,the aimless confusing state of punch of Americans who ran to Europe for better homeland and security after world war I.
it has many similarities to Fitzgerald's "The Great Gatsby" or "Babbitt" of Sinclair Lewis but of lower value.
not recommended....more info
- Now I See Why Ernest Hemingway Killed Himself
This is a terrible book. Never read it for the following reasons:
1. It is BORING. All the characters do in the novel is get drunk and have sex. If I wanted to read a book filled with nothing but that, I'd pick up my copy of "I Hope they Serve Beer in Hell" by Tucker Max, thank you.
2. The love scenes are amorous and unrealistic. At one point in the book, Brett tells Jake that love is "hell on earth".
3. This book, along with almost all of Hemingway's books, is about himself. If Hemingway was an interesting person that would be all right but he's not. He should have just taken all of his novels and made them into one big autobiography. It would have saved many high school students like myself who have are assigned his crap in English a lot of misery.
4. He is not that great of a writer. His style is short, simple, with not a lot of difficult vocabulary. Because of his style, his characters are two-dimensional and dull.
This supposed masterpiece helped establish Ernest Hemingway as the most overhyped writer of the 20th century. If there is anything rewarding about this novel, it is that you can finish it real fast and get this self-indulgent drivel over with....more info