Tuesday, April 20, 2010

REVIEW: Men Without Women by Ernest Hemingway

There's something about Ernest Hemingway. I keep returning to his books. All the things that I don't like about his writing are all the things that I really like. Everything is so pared down, there's nothing extra. Sometimes, things are very subtle that I almost miss his point entirely. This book of short stories is very short, but I had to re-read several of them just so I understood, and there's still probably more that I missed. Men Without Women covers a lot of the same ground of his novels... there's the bull-fighting, and the boxing. There's the relationships between men and women, there's the effect of war, of being too old. I'm constantly surprised how well Hemingway pulls off heart-wrenching and emotional with so few words. I can't say that I had a favourite out of the short stories, but when I was finished, I almost felt exhausted.

I always felt like Hemingway was an author I 'should' read after reading The Old Man and the Sea and A Moveable Feast in high school, and it was many years ago now that someone gave me a collection of his works as a gift. And they sat on my shelves for years and years, untouched. Then I read A Farewell to Arms. And then Fiesta: The Sun Also Rises. And now Men Without Women. And I can't help myself, I really want to read everything else now.

Any other Hemingway fans out there? What do you suggest I read next?


  1. The Sun Also Rises and A Moveable Feast are my two favorites, but I also enjoyed The Garden of Eden. It's a lesser work, published after his death and clearly unfinished, but has a somewhat different take on the usual themes and some really good parts, including a bit of metafiction with a story within a story.

  2. I just finished reading The Sun Also Rises, which I know you already read and wrote about. I would like that you write about this book, because I'm not familiar with it. I might have to check it out. Here's what I thought about The Sun Also Rises:


  3. Hey Bethany - I hadn't heard of Men Without Women before either. But I'm glad I got around to reading it. Now on to more Hemingway, I think... :)

  4. Ooh, JG - I've never heard of The Garden of Eden. I will put it on my list and have a look out for it, thanks :)

  5. Just finished reading 'to have and have not' after reading men without women... Men without women was better I'd say, I preferred the short stories, but to have and have not is still very good writing!


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