Wednesday, August 06, 2008
A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway
In 1918 Ernest Hemingway went to war, to the 'war to end all wars'. He volunteered for ambulance service in Italy, was wounded and twice decorated. Out of his experiences came A Farewell to Arms. Hemingway's description of war is unforgettable. He recreates the fear, the comradeship, the courage of his young American volunteer and the men and women he meets in Italy with total conviction. But A Farewell to Arms is not only a novel of war. In it Hemingway has also created a love story of immense drama and uncompromising passion.
I think Hemingway is one of those writers that most people love or hate. I can see why. The only book I've previously read of his was The Old Man and the Sea in high school and I only read it because a boy I liked said he loved it. To be honest, I don't remember much about it and the boy I liked? Yeah, he wasn't impressed that I'd read it.
Hemingway's writing is so bare and to the point that I almost stopped reading A Farewell to Arms before I really began and I did have to put it down halfway through and come back to it a month later. But after that break, I really enjoyed it. I thought the images of war in the book were fascinating and despite the sparcity of the language I did really feel like I was in Italy along with the characters in this book and I liked how Hemingway coupled the scenes of war with his romance of Catherine. I think I will tentatively try some of his other books...