Tuesday, September 28, 2010

123 - The Sun Also Rises; Ernest Hemingway




















The Sun Also Rises is a fascinating novel. I can't believe I hadn't read it years earlier. The protagonist, Jake Barnes, is a tragic hero of sorts. He was wounded in WW1 and his injuries rendered him impotent.  His injury deeply affected his psyche, and he is insecure about his masculinity as a result. The love of Jake's life is the beautiful Lady Brett Ashley, who cared for him during the war when he was wounded. She is a shallow woman, who cares for Jake, but will not commit to him because sex is very important to her. Instead Lady Brett spends her time with a variety of men. Jake, on the other hand, spends much of his time in Paris with his buddies, each drinking in cafes and wasting their lives.

The activities that Jake and his buddies engaged in were really quite sad.  They seemed like they never grew up, but instead their behavior was reflective of their wish to forget the horrors of the war.  They wandered rather aimlessly, a highlight being the fiesta and bullfights in Pamplona,  where the group engages in more drinking, dancing and debauchery.

This book was originally published in 1926, and its strength is definitely the style in which it was written. Hemingway's writing is sharp and insightful, and you feel every detail: the sight, sounds, the place. The characters, although flawed were sympathetic. I loved how he got into the psyche of the characters, helping the reader feel what their life was like, and why they made some of the decisions they did.  I thought it was rather ironic that the title, "The Sun Also Rises", which to me symbolizes a new dawn, a new day, really had no significance for Jake and the other characters in this novel. Rather they never moved on with their lives, stuck in time, as a result of the past. Hemingway seemed to truly understand the struggles and challenges that life handed his characters, and for that matter -- each of us. Some individuals are made stronger by adversity, but others are not. In the end though,  we rarely get everything we want in life  -- do we?

A Brilliant novel - Don't Miss It! - 5/5 stars -personal copy)

16 comments:

  1. I really should try some Hemingway, but I'm totally intimidated. Great review!

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  2. I absolutely love Hemingway. I visited Key West again this year and was able to visit the Hemingway home there - absolutely loved it. I love The Old Man and the Sea and To Have and Have Not -- there's just something about his writing. He doesn't mince his words at all, and he tells like it is.

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  3. I hate to say this but I am not a Hemingway fan. I know a lot of people love him and I hope you'll still like me but he just doesn't do it for me!

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  4. Wow, brilliant review! Thank you. I must definitely read Hemingway!

    *Some individuals are made stronger by adversity, but others are not. In the end though, we rarely get everything we want in life -- do we? - love love this line :)

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  5. I have been wanting to visit Pamplona, Spain ever since I read this book. And watch, not run, in the annual running of the bulls. I agree, a wonderful book.

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  6. This is a Hemingway I haven't read... sounds like I need to though. Great review!

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  7. I feel bad that I haven't ever read any Hemingway!

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  8. I haven't read any Hemingway since high school, but lately I have been kind of thinking about reading more. His name has pooped up in several conversations of late, and my sone is reading The Old Man and the Sea for his English class. It sounds like this one might be an excellent read for me, so I am going to have to check it out. Thanks for the very insightful review on it!

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  9. Great review Diane! I have this on my American reading list this year and can't wait now I've read your enticing report! I haven't read any Hemingway yet but I've heard only good things.

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  10. Isn't this book great? It was required summer reading for me for 12th grade. I took it to the beach. I assumed I'd hate it and so would only be out at the beach for 20 minutes or so. Therefore, I didn't bother with sunscreen. I read the whole book in one sitting. On the sand in SC in May. I couldn't sleep for 2 nights, had wet washcloths daped all over me, cried for days, have never had a sunburn even half so bad. Damn you Bret Ashley! Brilliant book.

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  11. This was required reading in high school but I can't remember anything about it. You have encouraged me to try again.

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  12. I have this book on my shelf, waiting to be read. Sigh!!

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  13. I'm going to read this. I promise, Diane!

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  14. I haven't read this one either but after your awesome review I will remedy that situation!

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  15. I know I'll read this one someday. I wouldn't call myself a huge fan but I do appreciate his talent!

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