Adrianne Mathiowetz's Reviews > For Whom The Bell Tolls

For Whom The Bell Tolls by Ernest Hemingway
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Dec 04, 13

Read in January, 2008

At some point in high school, I decided that I hated Ernest Hemingway. Was it the short story we read in English class? Was it the furniture collection named after him at Gabbert's? Something made me decide that Hemingway was a prick, and after that I dismissed him entirely.

This book was beautiful.

I don't even like books about war. (Case in point: I scanned half of War and Peace. I think which half is obvious.) But this book took five hundred pages to blow up a single bridge. There were tanks to count, grenades to gather, diagrams to be drawn and generals to contact. Somehow all of this managed to be completely enthralling to a reader whose eyes would otherwise glaze over at the mere mention of battalions.

I have to admit, a big part of my interest in it was likely due to the whole "American escapes America to live in caves and drink absinthe with the gypsies" thing. Who doesn't want to fantasize about that? And sleeping on pine needles, and falling in love with the gypsy girl! YES.

But mostly: I love how Hemingway writes his dialogue as though it were being directly translated. I love the slow sense of living, the feeling of being in the open air, the way you enter his main character's head through his stream of conscious ramblings. And I love that Robert Jordan is referred to as Robert Jordan throughout the entire book -- the way you refer to famous people, historical figures, the names you must commit to memory.
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Comments (showing 1-11 of 11) (11 new)

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Anthony You are officially fired. But kudos for finally leaving Todd's camp and coming over to the dark side.

Now read The Sun Also Rises.


message 2: by Todd (new)

Todd Johnson I suppose that one of these days I'm going to have to try Hemingway again, aren't I? I can't say that I'm excited about that day, but no one wants to be curmudgeonly. At least not until one is past 70.


message 3: by Kelly (new) - added it

Kelly  Maybedog Wow, your first paragraph describes me completely and I hate books about war, too. I think I may have to read this book.


Matt 'The Sun Also Rises' is garbage. 'A Farewell to Arms' is Hemingway's best, by far.


message 5: by Kelly (new) - added it

Kelly  Maybedog Good to know. :)


message 6: by Saldana (new)

Saldana If you thought war and peace was a war book... then I think you missed the entire point of it and should give up reading


Dasha After you give up reading, you should get back into reading some of the Dostoyevskiy's work such as "war and peace." im out son!


Sheng Peng I read this book 2 months ago when I was driving from Chicago to SF. I mean, in hotels.

Near the end of the book, when the old man died after the bridge was blown up, Robert Jordan noticed the smallness of the old man’s dead body. I was like, this sentence was so unexpectedly powerful! And at that same exact moment, I declared to myself that Hemingway is good.

I have since read A Farewell to Arms.


Adrianne Mathiowetz Ha, I just read Saldana's comment, 3 years later. I was not intending to say that War and Peace was a book "about war" - that was the part of the sentence that was meant to be funny. But hey! Let's not pass up an excuse to be snarky to someone we've never met, online!

Meanwhile, Sheng: "unexpectedly powerful" is a great way of characterizing Hemingway's writing.


Aleks I loved this book. I love hopeless causes. I love Hemmingway.


Larry It is one of the best and, glad to hear others love it also.


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