Friday, June 17, 2011

A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway~★★★★★

Author: Ernest Hemingway
Title: A Farewell to Arms
Release Date: First released 1929; this edition released May 1st, 2006
Publisher: First published by Scribner's Magazine; this edition published by Simon & Schuster Audio,
Unabridged edition; read by John Slattery
Genre: Fiction

Audio Book Cover: "The best American novel to emerge from World War I, A Farewell to Arms is the unforgettable story of an American ambulance driver on the Italian front and his passion for a beautiful English nurse. Hemingway's frank portrayal of the love between Lieutenant Henry and Catherine Barkley, caught in the inexorable sweep of war, glows with an intensity unrivaled in modern literature, which his description of the German attack on Caporetto---of lines of fired men marching in the rain, hungry, weary, and demoralized---is one of the greatest moments in literary history. A story of love and pain, of loyalty and desertion, A Farewell to Arms, written when he was 30 years old, represents a new romanticism for Hemingway."

Taryn's Review: Oh my, oh my. To say I loved this book feels like such an understatement. Hemingway's style of writing was so modern that at first I couldn't believe this book was published in 1929. It was extremely easy to relate with and Hemingway wrote in the same style that you or I would talk to our friends with.

The story was haunting. Hemingway's book highlighted how very quickly life courses can be altered by events out of our control (or are they?). When Lieutenant Henry met Catherine, I thought Catherine might be a little crazy. I laughed out loud when Henry followed up my thought and said, "I thought she might be a little crazy." The dialogue between the two was mesmerizingly simple and I absolutely adored it.

Henry's time with the Italian army also grabbed my attention. I'm not usually one to look forward to battle or army scenes in a book, but in this book I didn't mind at all. I think the Italian flare added with the Italian words kept me on my toes. I listened to the book and hearing the narrator read those beautiful Italian words makes me want to learn Italian, stat!

John Slattery did a fantastic job narrating the book. I can't speak more highly of his ability to change dialects smoothly and he offered quite the variety to the listener.

I can't wait to pick up another Hemingway novel. I'm not necessarily a fan of Hemingway the person, but his talent for writing and making human emotions shine through printed words was amazing. The book isn't a book you'll walk away from feeling happy. It will haunt you, but personally, toying with my emotions and pushing me to think on an uncomfortable level was what I loved in the author's work. This book paved the way for a romanticism that still exists in books (and life) today. Give this book a try soon!

1 comment:

  1. I agree with you one hundred percent on that Hemingway’s writing was so modern and easy to understand. Usually when I read a book from decades back the language is odd and I have to read over it a few times before I understand what the writer is trying to get at. However, in A Farewell to Arms, I understood most of the book right away, and this added to the enjoyment of the reading. I obviously had trouble understanding the Italian, but besides that, I was able to understand and relate to the book extremely well.
    I found this story to be so true to reality. The ups and downs Henry confronted were so real that, at times, it reminded me of similar situations I face in my life. I also agree with what you said about the dialogue between the two being mesmerizingly simple. I felt like they were right in front of me having a conversation, rather than me reading it in a book from the 1920’s.
    I would have to say that my favorite part of the book was Hemingway’s metaphor of rain. Although depressing, the way he used rain was unbelievably clever. When Catherine was in labor, and I found out it was raining, I thought back to the night in Henry’s room when Catherine started crying because of the rain. I then quickly put two and two together and realized that what was soon to come was most likely going to be unpleasant.
    The ending of the story touched me the most. The way Hemingway made her death such a small portion of the book, yet such a large part of the story, amazed me. With so little words, the essence of the story completely changed. I think this conveys the power in which Hemingway holds, in even the shortest of words.