Michael Chiappini's Reviews > In Our Time

In Our Time by Ernest Hemingway
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Sep 12, 12

Read from September 08 to 12, 2012

While I understand Hemingway is important to the development of American literature and modernism in general, I find him so difficult to enjoy. I fail to see how this collection of vignettes does any work towards either representing the human condition or trying to save it. Sure, it represents people who have experienced a great deal of trauma, are living in the wasteland of post-WWI, but I feel there is little for us to glean from his minimalist style, from his unspoken emotions and words, and his masculinity in crisis. I sense instead a kind of elitism that is evident in any of the scholarship surrounding this novel, and his work in general, today. That the sentences are crafted so carefully, that his periodic sentences give the ultimate punch, that each story is seamlessly interwoven within the body of the slim volume as a whole, ultimately do nothing for me. And here is the trouble with formalism and minimalism - what do they do, other than show us that it is possible to create a work like this? What do they do besides become an oppressive metanarrative of literature and elitism?

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