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Lunch » Tags » Books » Reviews » The Complete Short Stories of Ernest Hemingway » User review

Some Great, Some Spotty

  • Jun 17, 2010
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I'm only a 1/3 of the way through this, so this technically is a review-in-progress, subject to later amendment. I was a devout Hemingway fan all through my teens and 20s, and have read everything ever published under his name (other than True at First Light and the latest re-release A Moveable Feast), included the Carlos Baker biography and other, related works about Hemingway. With the latest instalment of the Kindle I've been downloading and re-reading older works, and started in on Hem's stories a few weeks ago.

All in all, they stand up pretty well. The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber is still one of my favourite stories, and I enjoyed a few of the bullfighting tales as well. The Snows of Kilimanjaro was a bit annoying to me -- just as, for some reason, it was when I first read it in 10th grade English class -- and I don't know if that is leftover resentment for having to read things for the purpose of learning about metaphor or allegory, or simply because the tale is irritating in and of itself. My first instinct was that the genesis of his gangrene -- being scratched by a thorn -- was frankly stupid, and his attribution of infection to the dilute boric acid he put on it was equally dumb. In an Africa with no shortage of liquor, he could sterilize the wound by pouring whiskey on it -- I mean, how deep can a thorn go? 

That said, I still like the spareness of his writing, and the Nick Adams' stories about fishing are still worth reading, even as a grown-up. It's good enough to make me want to see if The Sun Also Rises still stands the test of time, or if that (like most of Fitzgerald) palls when you reach your 40s.

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Robert Scott Lawrence ()
Ranked #2139
Lawyer, reader, writer, runner
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