A Farewell to Arms
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A Farewell to Arms

3.76 of 5 stars 3.76  ·  rating details  ·  144,749 ratings  ·  4,841 reviews
In 1918 Ernest Hemingway went to war, to the 'war to end all wars'. He volunteered for ambulance service in Italy, was wounded and twice decorated. Out of his experiences came A Farewell to Arms. Hemingway's description of war is unforgettable. He recreates the fear, the comradeship, the courage of his young American volunteer and the men and women he meets in Italy with t...more
Paperback, 355 pages
Published 2004 by Arrow Books (first published 1929)
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Meg
I feel like awarding the great Hemingway only two stars has officially consigned me to the seventh circle of literary hell. But I must be honest. By this website's criteria two stars indicates that a book is "okay" - and to me that describes this work perfectly.

Hemingway himself is undeniably gifted. I love his succinct style (though at times it degenerates to downright caveman-speak), his honest diction and his wonderful sense of humor. That being said, he gets away with utterly ignoring most r...more
Skylar Burris
The old joke proves itself upon reading.

Q: Why did the chicken cross the road?

A (Hemingway): To die. In the rain.

Jason Pettus
(Reprinted from the Chicago Center for Literature and Photography [cclapcenter.com:]. I am the original author of this essay, as well as the owner of CCLaP; it is not being reprinted here illegally.)

The CCLaP 100: In which I read a hundred so-called "classics" for the first time, then write reports on whether or not they deserve the label

Book #17: A Farewell to Arms, by Ernest Hemingway (1929)

The story in a nutshell:
Published in the late 1920s, right when Modernism was first starting to become a...more
Riku Sayuj

War is Boring

Hemingway’s narrator writes not as a soldier but as a journalist-soldier, channeling Hemingway himself, recording with precision and apparent objectivity the things that happen around him and to him - practical and prosaic and always pragmatic about everything. People die and bombs explode in the same paragraph as the one where breakfast was considered with equal interest, and he takes it all in his stride.

As best as I can tell, the action of A Farewell to Arms takes place from 191...more
Ben
I'm not a Hemingway guy. I yearn for internal dialogue, various and ladened spiritual questioning, and deep psychology in my characters. I prefer writing that is smooth and philosophical. Hemingway gives me little of this.

But the settings of this book were beautiful, and the dialogue between characters, poignant. By the end, I found that Hemingway had craftily fucked with me to the point of my complete immersion into the novel.

It made me cry.
K.D. Absolutely
May 14, 2011 K.D. Absolutely rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommended to K.D. by: 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die (2006-2010)
Shelves: 1001-core
My second book by Ernest Hemingway. I liked this so much that I cried while finally closing the book.

It must be the way Hemingway used his magic: the vivid descriptions of his locale. The war torn Italian picturesque villa and the use of rain as metaphor for hardship. The ying-yang kind of story: the "man's man" virile American Tenente and the whimsical English-woman Catherine. The contrast between these two lovers is so opposite that's akin to the sun and moon that sometimes exist together in a...more
Matt
I just finished it, and I'm disappointed. And not only disappointed; I'm also bothered by it. I guess I shouldn't be surprised at Hemingway's one-dimensional, sexist portrayal of Catherine Barker, having read much of his other work, but somehow I still am. Put simply, Catherine is a ridiculous figure, and it's no fault of her own. Hemingway gives her no opportunity to sound like anything more than a half-crazy, desperate, fawning caricature with no real desires or opinions of her own. How many t...more
Michael
(Spoilers ahead.)

THE DOUBLE DATE

Dramatis Personae:

Henry, protagonist of A Farewell to Arms, ex-soldier.
Catherine, wife of Henry, an ex-nurse for wounded soldiers.

Michael, book "reviewer," handsome and devilish rogue.
Joy, Michael's wife. She'll cut a bitch.
The Waiter, self-explanatory.
Distressed Customer #1, Only has one line.
Dying Man, just proposed to his girlfriend.
Dying Man's Fiance, happy, but frightened her dude will croak before they tie the knot.
Harold Bloom, asshole.


SCENE 1: The Date


Cat...more
Becky
Once, there was a time when I would have struggled through this one, convinced that since it was a "classic", there must be some redeeming quality to it. I'd have struggled to the bitter end, hating it more and more, and I'd have been disappointed by it even if there was something worthwhile at the end. Because getting there was tedious, boring, painful, and annoying.

This book has a lot of very varied reviews and opinions. Lots of people loved it, lots of people hated it. I can see why. It's a...more
emily
I first read this book in high school. Maybe because I was young, maybe because it was summer reading, or maybe because I read it immediately following The Invisible Man (intense!), I more or less just slid through the book, enjoying the love story and not dwelling long enough in the war episodes to feel much of anything.

The second time I read it, I didn't make it past the time in Milan. I couldn't settle into the prose and, more importantly, I couldn't handle Catherine: "I'll say just what you...more
Siria
I've never read any Hemingway, so I thought to myself, 'Self, that is probably something you should remedy.' And now there are a couple of hours of my life that I will never get back. The macho posturing, the awful dialogue (if it were possible to have excised every word he put into the mouth of Catherine, I would have done so), the misogyny, the sometimes bizarre interactions between people... whatever the hell he was trying to do, for me it read as if everyone was either: 1) Certifiably insane...more
Matt
A Farewell to Arms sort of gives you the inkling that Hemingway's death will probably involve a shotgun.

It's just that sad. Front to back, this is one of the more mournful novels I've read. It's about Henry, an ambulance driver in World War I. He is wounded and falls in love with Catherine, a nurse. They exchange odd banter. They fall in love in love during a summer in Milan (but who wouldn't?). He knocks Catherine up, then returns to the front. Unfortunately for him, he is fighting with Italia...more
Warwick
In the fall of that year we rented a house in the mountains that looked down across the river to the village below. The water of the river was turquoise and the village had a pretty campanile and beyond it rose more mountains and beyond them still more. The man who owned our cottage lived next door and made his own dry cured sausage and we would go round and eat it by the fire and talk about how fine the sausage tasted. On the hills all around there were deer, and in the evenings we would sit on...more
Madeline
"British ambulance drivers were killed sometimes. Well, I knew I would not be killed. Not in this war. It did not have anything to do with me. It seemed no more dangerous to me myself than war in the movies. I wished to God it was over though."

Frederic Henry (who, for all intents and purposes is Ernest Hemingway) is a volunteer in the Italian Army in World War I. He's wounded in battle and has to spend time recuperating in a hospital after his leg is operated on, and while there he falls in love...more
Rebecca
Observational tragedy. Bloke falls for sub-moron during war. *petitions friendly bombs*
Hemmingway absolves language of beauty. And then the world.
His intent was to expose war's mundanity. His method rendered art menial.
*sarcastic applause*



Kim

The way I listened to the audiobook version of this novel narrated by John Slattery didn’t do it justice. Being on holidays, away from home and my usual commuting and exercising habits, I listened in short grabs, either just before going to sleep or when I woke up in the early hours of the morning and wanted to get back to sleep again. I had to re-listen to bits I'd missed by dozing off, which does not make for a smooth and cohesive literary experience. In addition, it’s a reasonably short book,...more
Szplug
There really is much to enjoy in Hemingway's contribution to the relatively meagre shelf of First World War literature: the intriguing depiction of the effects and culture of war in the little-known Italian theatre; the dread conveyed when the stalemated Austrian forces are augmented by the mighty Germans; the stunningly depicted retreat across the Po plain, culminating in the bridge crossing where officers are being separated from the fleeing, crowding mass of soldiers to be lined up and shot;...more
Jennifer (aka EM)
This is obviously a brilliant book, because [almost] all of my smart friends say it is. The cover says it is the best novel to come out of WWI. And it's Hemingway, a classic, the Nobel, the understatement, the raw power passion drama horror.

But guess what: I only barely glimpsed the horrors of war, and I didn't buy the love story at all. I don't know if people really talk that way to each other, or ever did, but if so - well, yeccchhh. He lost me at book four, with (view spoiler)...more
Samadrita
Literary activism begets such gems like A Farewell To Arms. Somebody who had experienced war first-hand writes about why exactly there shouldn't be any wars in the first place. Touched by the honesty and the elegant nonchalance with which he has depicted some of the brutalities of war, the world has handed him the Nobel Prize for Literature and forgotten all about the message that the writer had intended to convey. And that is why wars still keep breaking out and will continue to do so.
One of th...more
Chrissie
On completion: I liked this very much. I enjoy Hemingway’s succinct prose. In all its simplicity you are free to fill in all the hidden thoughts. So much more is said than the few simple words. I find the language perfect for the characters, the time period and the circumstances. Others dislike how sometimes the language used is repetitive. I don’t mind this at all. For me it feels like real people talking. People do talk this way. Maybe because I listened to the audiobook (narrated by John Slat...more
Megan
It's high time I created a shelf entitled, "Appealed to teenage Megan, but my adult self simply isn't feeling the lurve" Not that I didn't lurve A Farewell to Arms this third (or is it fourth?) time reading it. It is just that, as a younger person, this book was so profound. So tragic and romantic and meaningful.

My impressions as an adult? Hemingway creates an interesting character in Henry, an American driving an ambulance for the Italians in WWI. Henry is a man's man. (Aren't all of Hemingway...more
Bruce
I read all of Hemingway's major works when I was in high school and "HemingwayandFaulkner" were always presented together as contrasting literary twins. I never much liked Hemingway. He seemed as if his characters were monosyllabic tough guys without subtlety or much emotion, and reading him was like watching a John Wayne movie (which I also disliked). The dialogue seemed stiltled and the syntax boringly simple and direct. I voted for Faulkner (partly because my classmates found him convoluted a...more
Jacqui
I disliked Hemingway the first time I read him. I didn't get his prose. I thought he was a misogynist. Well, okay, perhaps he wasn't any feminist or friend of feminists, but I don't know. It was a different time, and all those excuses. Nevermind that, however, because while that was important to me on first reading his novels at age 14, it no longer is. My perspective on, well, lots of things has changed, and Hemingway is now one of my favorite writers.

You don't have to like what you imagine to...more
Michael
Lord help me but I just can't get into Hemingway. I tried three times before (A Moveable Feast, The Sun Also Rises, and The Old Man and the Sea) and I plan on now trying three others, but so far with A Farewell to Arms I have the same reservations as earlier, only worse. His prose is described as "terse, tough" (this from the back of the Scribner edition), but to me it's bone dry reportage. Supposedly stoicism is what's being imparted, but why should we care when this stoicism encounters no equa...more
Jonfaith
My least favorite of Papa's major novels. It merits mention fo rbeing a conversation starter. I was reading this in a pub and was approached by a guy. He proved to be a nutter. I didn't know that then. He approached, pointed to my book and began rambling about how Hemingway and Hunter Thompson understood the essence of things (this was years before Thompson's suicide) and that their lives of excess were a just a relief for their clairty. That is my paraphrase. I wound up talking to the guy for h...more
Kevin
This is a really great book. The prose is a simple, journalistic style but contains an effectivness that grips you and I could not put it down. It essentially is an semi-autobiographical account of Hemingways experiences as an American Ambulance Driver in the Italian Army during the last year of WW1, which details his experiences of the front, getting severely wounded and falling in love with an beautiful British nurse. There is much disillusionment throughout the book and in all his characters,...more
Sara Sbaraglia
Noia, noia, noia!

Questo non è un romanzo sulla guerra. La guerra la si vede solo da lontano, raccontata dagli occhi (distratti, aggiungerei) di un autista di ambulanze, che quindi il fronte, in realtà, sa a mala pena cosa sia. Colpa mia che ho pensato che "Addio alle armi" sottintendesse che le armi andassero prima di tutto imbracciate. Ma tant'è.

Ma veniamo al dunque: il nostro protagonista è un volontario americano venuto a combattere in Italia, pieno di visioni ottimistiche e speranzose. E per...more
Alison
"A wine shop was open and I went in for some coffee. It smelled of early morning, of swept dust, spoons in coffee-glasses and the wet circles left by wine glasses."

A Farewell to Arms is a semi-autobiographical novel that Hemingway wrote ten years after his experiences in World War I. Hemingway was an American serving in the Italian army as an ambulance driver. This is the dual-telling of his experiences in the war (he is wounded, he is almost executed), and of his love affair with an English nu...more
Annette
Jul 25, 2007 Annette rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Someone who has never read contemporary literature
Hemingway is a force to be reckoned with. That is, until every modern day writer starting imitating his style. Then, us readers go back to "discover" Hemingway only to realize that it reads just like all the other minimalist literature out there today. Admittedly Hemingway started it all. Give him props for that. It's kind of like the first fat girl who got a butterfly tattoo on her left shoulder. Cool. But does it really have to be done over and over again? And by the time you finally see the o...more
Sera
Apr 21, 2014 Sera rated it 2 of 5 stars
Recommended to Sera by: Robbie
For those of you who are my GR friends, or may simply read my reviews from time to time, you know about the difficult author-reader relationship that I have with Papa Hemingway. Last year, after a 20 year hiatus, I had a decent go with some short stories and a novella by Hemingway. I figured that I would keep going this year and try one of his longer books again.

Ugh, everything that I didn't like about Hemingway's storytelling came up again while reading this book. I listened to it on audio, wh...more
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Bright Young Things: "A Farewell to Arms" by Ernest Hemingway 51 49 Jul 21, 2014 11:02AM  
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Ernest Miller Hemingway was an American author and journalist. His economical and understated style had a strong influence on 20th-century fiction, while his life of adventure and his public image influenced later generations. Hemingway produced most of his work between the mid-1920s and the mid-1950s, and won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1954. He published seven novels, six short story collec...more
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“Maybe...you'll fall in love with me all over again."
"Hell," I said, "I love you enough now. What do you want to do? Ruin me?"
"Yes. I want to ruin you."
"Good," I said. "That's what I want too.”
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“All thinking men are atheists.” 1642 likes
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