Taka's Reviews > For Whom the Bell Tolls

For Whom the Bell Tolls by Ernest Hemingway
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's review
Aug 08, 2007

liked it
bookshelves: japan_jul07-aug11, american_lit, modernist_lit

Solid story (3.5)--

I haven't read Hemingway since high school when his The Sun Also Rises was a required reading. At that time I thought it was boring. Also at that time I was a hardcore math/science person and had little interest in the world of letters.

So I picked up For Whom the Bell Tolls because I heard so much about it.

In a nutshell, a good story told in simple, stoic prose with awesome portrayal of human consciousness. I thought, however, the whole anachronistic medievalism in translating Spanish was clunky and unnecessary. Also, many of the stream-of-consciousness sections were slow, somewhat irrelevant to the story, and not as effective in depicting the characters in that what they thought didn't necessarily show their character, which is a waste of writing space in my opinion because everything should be there for a purpose.

One last problem I had with the story was that I couldn't really identify with the characters all that much. I didn't find the protagonist all that fascinating or deserving of sympathy. The most interesting of all the cast was probably Pilar, with her stormy personality that is at the same time possessive, loving, scolding, rebellious, caring, impudent, strong, sensitive, and independent. Pablo was also interesting, but not as much as Pilar. After reading it, I didn't feel like I knew Robert Jordan well.

But overall, it was a good read packed with actions, thoughts, and emotions.

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