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The Sun Also Rises
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September 2019: Cultural > The Sun Also Rises, by Ernest Hemingway, 3 stars

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message 1: by NancyJ (last edited Sep 12, 2019 08:26PM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

NancyJ (nancyjjj) | 5575 comments I tried hard to see what others liked about this classic book, but I just couldn't enjoy it. Hemingway is larger than life. I've seen him portrayed in movies and books, and his personality comes through strongly in this book. I know that much of the book is autobiographical, so when the character of Jake said cruel things about his friends, I knew Hemingway was talking about real people. I thought I might see some of the charm of Paris and Spain in the 1920's, with artistic people partying till dawn, but it all felt joyless to me. Maybe that was the point. They were the lost generation. 2 stars.

Book Concierge (tessabookconcierge) | 6004 comments I just looked up my review, which is full of what I did NOT like about it ... and yet, somehow I gave it 3***

message 3: by Theresa (last edited Sep 14, 2019 07:57AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Theresa | 7419 comments Well, I was shocked by how much I loved it when I read it earlier this year - gave it 5 stars and ate my words on how much I hate his writing. Here is an excerpt from my review:

It is all told from the first person perspective of Jake, a writer with a war injury that renders him impotent, who tells the story in a spare journalistic recitation of events and actions without color or judgment or analysis. This is the essence of Hemingway's modernist writing style. The relationships and events told in this spare manner end up incredibly revealing and vivid so that by the end, you have seen all the complicated relationships, careless cruelties, lack of direction - or maybe it's lack of meaning, illusions, and deep emotions in the lives of Jake, Brett (the main female character), Mike, Bill, Cohn and others. The descriptions of the bullfights - how the bull is teased and ultimately killed - mirrors the treatment of Cohn by the others, in fact. Jake et al. are matadors, and those not of the circle, like Cohn, are the bulls played to the death.

I was inspired to read it after reading The Paris Wife which includes a retelling of Hemingway and his coterie in Paris and on that trip to Spain.

But even loving it as I did, I am not rushing out to read more Hemingway.

NancyJ (nancyjjj) | 5575 comments Theresa wrote: "Well, I was shocked by how much I loved it when I read it earlier this year - gave it 5 stars and ate my words i how much I hate his writing. Here is an excerpt from my review:

It is all told from..."

Your review is so much more interesting than mine. I really didn't like the careless cruelties (and anti-semitism), and the lack of direction didn't appeal to me. The connection between the bullfight and how they treated Cohn makes it all so more interesting though. If I were to try another of his books I would choose Movable Feast.

NancyJ (nancyjjj) | 5575 comments Based on a Theresa's notes and my friend Linda's comments. I reread a few portions of the book, using the print version. I was listening to an audio version of the book in the car, and it made all this writing sound like it came from a 1930's- 1940's PI.

I read through the fishing trip, and the bullfights to the end in the print book. Once I got the arrogant voice out of my head, I was able to enjoy and appreciate his writing more. I still didn't enjoy all the fighting and dissipated living, but when I thought of it as social commentary it was more meaningful. I upped my rating a little.

message 6: by Susan (new)

Susan Lewallen (susanlewallen) | 551 comments Interesting discussion. I haven't read any Hemingway since decades ago, when I had to for school. I have it in my mind that his attitudes are terribly macho and that's put me off of him completely. It's hard for me to separate all the components that go into a writer's style, but it's fun to try and it's why I read reviews..

message 7: by Sue (new) - rated it 3 stars

Sue | 1179 comments I read this for a literature class in college. I've read a few of Hemingway's books, and I find them all empty and sad.

I've recently read some other classics - Frankenstein, The Picture of Dorian Gray, Pride and Prejudice - and while I loved the stories, I found the writing to be so overblown. Just too much description, too much flowery dialogue, just over all too much.

When we studied Hemingway in college, it was with the understanding that it was his writing style that was new and exciting. He famously edited his stories down to the bare necessities, and he's had an impact on how novels are written ever since. I think what I love about modern writing style owes a great debt to Hemingway.

And having said all that, I don't feel any need to read any more of his books. The stories just don't speak to me, and overall leave me feeling too depressed.

message 8: by Theresa (last edited Sep 20, 2019 12:46PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Theresa | 7419 comments Other than A Movable Feast, I have long hated any and all Hemingway I read and refused any further. I actually only read The Sun Also Rises as a result of reading Paula MacLain's A Paris Wife which tells of that time from Hadley's perspective. I was intrigued because the real individuals on whom the characters were based basically said that Hem should call it non-fiction not fiction because it was word for word everything said and happened. I am also interested in The Lost Generation and what exactly that meant.

Knowing that it was so deeply linked to real events I believe helped me when I read it -- led to my appreciating it more. Although I was still surprised how much I loved it. I do like spare writing from time to time. And personally, that ending is killer: (view spoiler) One of the most brilliant endings - and lines - ever.

Charlie  Ravioli (charlie_ravioli) | 493 comments For Whom The Bell Tolls is my favorite (followed by The Old Man and the Sea). I prefer older Hemingway to young Hemingway. I recently traveled to NY for work and stayed at a hotel in midtown that claims to have hosted Hemingway when he completed final edits on For Whom The Bell Tolls. I also did NOT like The Sun Also Rises but am glad I picked up the others I note above.

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