Eric's Reviews > In Our Time

In Our Time by Ernest Hemingway
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bookshelves: ficciones, great-war, malick-should-film-it

I wish I’d been assigned this in high school. At 17 I was mad for Lorca, and would have loved Hemingway’s gory sportsman’s sketches—

Inside on a wooden bunk lay a young Indian woman. She had been trying to have her baby for two days. All the old women in the camp had been helping her. The men had moved off up the road to sit in the dark and smoke cut of range of the noise she made. She screamed just as Nick and the two Indians followed his father and Uncle George into the shanty. She lay in the lower bunk, very big under a quilt. Her head was turned to one side. In the upper bunk was her husband. He had cut his foot very badly with an ax three days before. He was smoking a pipe. The room smelled very bad.

—as I loved Lorca’s dark suites, daggers, and duende. Each guy elaborated a pervy poetics of bullfighting.

The storylets about tense couples did little for me, though I usually enjoy “the ominous banality of human behavior in situations of emotional strain”--Wilson nails it--when I find it in, say, Eleven Kinds of Loneliness. I exempt from this opinion Nick and Marjorie’s fishing trip/breakup--that was good.

I liked it when Nick, riding the rails, finds the ex-prizefighter and his man Bugs--a regular Huck-Jim duo--bumming out in the woods away from regular folks because the scarred old boxer gets into scrapes; and when George, dreading his return to school in “Cross-Country Snow,” asks Nick, “don’t you wish we could just bum together?” The allure, the boyish compulsion of bumming made me recall the bands of “bummers” that fanned out from Sherman’s columns, to forage and fight, coming back into camp near dark on rustled mounts, with wagonloads of loot, and sweet potatoes and smoked hams. I need to read Huck Finn!


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Reading Progress

May 7, 2009 – Shelved
Started Reading
February 1, 2010 – Finished Reading
February 19, 2010 – Shelved as: ficciones
August 1, 2010 – Shelved as: great-war
December 9, 2010 – Shelved as: malick-should-film-it

Comments Showing 1-5 of 5 (5 new)

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message 1: by Bram (new)

Bram No Huck Finn in school? And I thought my middle/high school education was unusual for failing to assign Brave New World.


Eric Weird huh? It had been a 10th grade staple, but then they dropped it for Wharton's Summer.


message 3: by Bram (last edited Feb 19, 2010 08:20AM) (new)

Bram Yes, very (or maybe not? Kids may not even read it anymore for all I know). I think I had it assigned in both middle and high school. It's been so long since I read it though--I'll be looking forward to your thoughts.


Eric I think I might do it after Mansfield Park. I kinda want to start it now, but I can never focus on two novels at the same time.


message 5: by Jay (new) - rated it 5 stars

Jay The linkage between Hemingway and Lorca really come to my mind when I read "Death in the Afternoon" and then re-read Lorca's "Llanto por Ignacio Sanchez".


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