Dec 29, 11
Read from December 23 to 29, 2011
Reading this book was a part of an exercise in reexamining some of the conclusions I'd hastily drawn about authors over the years. Like most, my introduction to Hemingway came principally from two short stories, "Hills like White Elephants" and "A Clean Well Lighted Place." I still can't fathom why the first is so overwhelmingly popular, or why it cuts in line in front of better Hemingway shorts, but I'm willing to let that one go because fighting the tide is exhausting. I wouldn't call In Our Time a revelation, but it certainly was a reward for backtracking down a literary path. Yes, I'm still underwhelmed at points with the truncated prose, and yes, sometimes even the crests of the icebergs have sunken beneath the water, but several times in this collection––and here I'm thinking Nick Adams stories––the muscularity of Hemingway's compressed contents-under-pressure writing style really does a number on you.
If I had to pick one, it'd be the two-parter, "Big Two-Hearted River." "The Battler" was also great.