Ian's Reviews > A Farewell to Arms

A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway
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's review
Sep 05, 2014

liked it
bookshelves: a-kindle, us-classic, war, romance
Read from September 01 to 04, 2014

Hemingway may be regarded as a ground breaking writer but I thought this novel was really bitty. His descriptions of Fred and his ambulance crew working through the war being fought in the mountains of Italy and the dispiriting trudge of an army in retreat are often wonderful, timeless and memorable. However, the romance between Fred, an American serving as an officer in the Italian military, and Catherine an English nurse, dates much less well. In fact much of it feels unreal and false. I suppose it may just be of it's time, but the breathless and constant verbal expressions of love between the pair became cloying and irritating in the extreme. The problem being that Catherine is just such a shallow sketch of a character and whenever she appears constantly uttering the words darling, splendid, fine and wonderful, it's like being dipped and drowning in a very deep vat of extremely sweet and sickly strawberry jam. This certainly provides a counterpoint to the horrors of war but not one that worked for me.

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09/01/2014 marked as: currently-reading
09/05/2014 marked as: read
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Comments (showing 1-3 of 3) (3 new)

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message 1: by Liz (new) - rated it 3 stars

Liz I've yet to be 'wowed' by Hemingway - like DH Lawrence, he just leaves me cold. Maybe I've still to find the right book....

message 2: by Kev (new) - rated it 3 stars

Kev Bartlett I had similar thoughts Ian but found the end quite moving

message 3: by Ian (last edited Sep 08, 2014 09:59AM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Ian I thought the ending was well done Kev, but I was so sick of the pair of them muttering sweet nothings to each other, that by that stage I suspect my heart had closed over.

This is the 4th Hemingway novel I've read and like Liz I remain unwowed. His storytelling can be great but I hate his use of rapid fire dialogue and imho he does romance pretty badly.

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