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Editor’s Note

“An Expat's Ennui...”

A novel of dispassionate decadence, Hemingway’s roman à clef portrays a sense of ennui that is as relevant today as it was in the Roaring Twenties.
Scribd Editor
The quintessential novel of the Lost Generation, The Sun Also Rises is one of Ernest Hemingway’s masterpieces and a classic example of his spare but powerful writing style.

A poignant look at the disillusionment and angst of the post-World War I generation, the novel introduces two of Hemingway’s most unforgettable characters: Jake Barnes and Lady Brett Ashley. The story follows the flamboyant Brett and the hapless Jake as they journey from the wild nightlife of 1920s Paris to the brutal bullfighting rings of Spain with a motley group of expatriates. First published in 1926, The Sun Also Rises helped establish Hemingway as one of the greatest writers of the twentieth century.

Topics: World War 1, 1920s, Semi-Autobiographical, Lost Generation, American Author, Spain, Expat Life, Bullfighting, War, Love, Sexuality, Male Author, Modernism, Spare, Poignant, and Ennui

Published: Scribner on
ISBN: 9780743237338
List price: $11.99
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I have looked forward for many years to reading another Hemingway novel. I loved A Farewell to Arms and the characters of Frederick Henry and Catherine Barkley have stayed with me for many years. With the understanding that The Sun Also Rises is considered by many to be Hemingway's finest work, I dove in hoping to be as enthralled as I was with AFTA. And so, because I was not, I wonder if I'm judging TSAR somewhat unfairly. But I cannot escape that fundamentally this book is about celebrating the flaws in characters and commending them for being selfish and hateful. This was simply something I did not enjoy. I rate this with three stars because the plot is good (once you get past the first section, which is essentially only to lay the groundwork for the rest of the novel) and because the characters are unforgettable. But they are unforgettable for very different reasons than Lieutenant Henry and his beloved nurse Barkley; they are unforgettable because they are, quite simply, immature and indecent people.

Perhaps I'm being too harsh here. I did enjoy Hemingway's simple style, and the descriptions of the festival at Pamplona are excellent, particularly of the bull fighting towards the end. But at the end of the day, what we have here are men who drink too much, who hate other men because they all desire the same woman, and that one woman is selfish, superficial and someone who uses men only for her ends. I found it very difficult to sympathize with any of them. Robert Cohn may very well be a petty man who is egotistical, but the characters constantly demean him not for these negative qualities but for his Jewish ethnicity. Michael Campbell is a drunken gentlemen prone to fits of rage and rants, but no one stands up to him and calls him out on it. Jake Barnes stands at the center of all of this, and while he seems to have more redeeming qualities than the rest, he also goes along with the childish antics of his friends and engages in foul behavior even when he is aware of its foulness. He is anti-Semitic towards Cohn like all the others and cannot find the inner strength to tear himself away from the poison that is Lady Brett Ashley. Brett Ashley is possibly the worst offender of them all, as she consistently does damage to everyone around her, seems to be aware of this damage, and simply chooses to ignore it as it does not serve her own selfish ends. If there was anything redeeming of the way these characters carry on, it is this: none of them, perhaps save Ashley, get what they want in the end.

My rating reflects the fact that I don't like the characters and I especially hated the anti-Semitic theme with regards to Cohn. But I will not dispute that it is a valuable book and it is written well. I think if anyone were searching for a novel that shows the fruits of pursuing a life of selfishness, depravity and above all drunkenness (I'm not entirely sure the characters were ever sober), this would be it. But don't expect to find characters you can empathize with, because they simply aren't here.more
Doing a re-read of the novel for the Seasonal Reading Challenge (Fall 2009). I loved this book when I studied it in high school, so it will be interesting to see if I feel the same way about it now.more
The whole novel I kept thinking about what kind of novel would the Robert Cohn novel be. Like, we were watching those bit players get drunk. And, really, devoting an entire novel to these rich (well, minus Mike OF COURSE) expats was a little boring at times. All I could think was, how crazy is it that we're not even getting the whole story because these narrators are all so drunk and high that most of the time they are secluding in their own little world and can barely see past their own noses. I bet if we heard from Cohn (don't even get me started on how tired I was getting about hearing about Jews and black people and all of the other insanely offensive terms and stereotypes Hemingway uses) we would see a much more honest account of all that was going on. I wish we could have that novel, too.more
Audiobook reread 12/2011. I listened to this while driving back and forth to work with the rest of the working stiffs. It is a good book, and I enjoyed it a great deal. It is a sad and funny book. A sad, funny book. And I enjoyed it a great deal.more
This book contains the best Hemingway line ever: "the road to hell is paved with unbought stuffed dogs."


That's the highlight; now you can skip it.more
After, reading The Paris Wife, I was disappointed in The Sun Also Rises. So many of the scenes are repeated in both books, with more detail in The Paris Wife. All the drinking and carousing and fighting becomes too much. The relationships are sketchy in both books. The bull fighting and fishing are very detailed. I would venture to say that The Sun Also Rises is a book that most men would enjoy, but I felt under currents of homosexuality.more
A beautifully constructed novel with characters marked by depravity and caprice. The narrator and his friends struggle with a lack of morality and purpose. Jake, the narrator and main character, is the closet to understanding God, though still lost. He sees people more clearly than any other character and his choices are the most rational. Bullfigting is a major symbol in this novel with multiple possible interpretations. I think that bullfigting represents purity and purpose. At the beginning of the novel, Jake says "Nobody lives their life all the way up except bull-fighters".The passage that describes the first bullfight seems to be the most clear and pure passage of the novel . Preceding and following this passage are a mess of parties, relational confusion, fights, drunkenness, and general debauchery. Earlier in the novel, Jake is given the title "aficionado", meaning passion. This is in relation to his love of bullfighting. Jake is a true fan who understands the sport and watches it with passion. In general, Jake recognizes purity and the finality of life. Juxtaposing Jake's character is, the love of his life, a lady named Brett, who lusts after her many different suitors and does not have a clear idea of what she wants. Her motives are always for her gain. Jake's love for Brett is consistent throughout the novel. He does everything to maintain his friendship with her, even if it might be painful to him. Brett does everything for herself lacking any concern about how her actions hurt others. During one of the bullfights, Jake explains to her how the sport works. The purpose of explaining the sport to Brett is "so that it became more something that was going on with a definite end, and less of a spectacle with unexplained horrors". Brett, ironically, is infatuated with the bullfighter. He is a young bullfighter who does everything with purity and perfect form. She goes away with him. Her actions accentuate the carelessness of all characters in the book. She can't help but act according to her desires.This novel illustrates the pains of immoral and selfish choices. It is full of beautiful, multi-faceted symbolism and a struggle to find God at the center.more
Predictable in the drinking, chasing women, fishing and bullfighting. Surprising in the lyrical descriptions of place, whether in the countryside of Spain or in Paris, and that the person in power was a woman, Brett Ashley. That said, Brett's power resided in her beauty not in intellect of accomplishments.more
After reading this book about the lost generation I felt a little lost. The writing is sparse but the Fiesta at Pamplona, the bullfights and 1920s Paris is well portrayed. The book begins by introducing a character and then switching to the main character Jake who then meets up with the femme fatale, Blake, funny name for a girl, but in the end the plot never really comes together. The first character disappears, and the supposed romance between Jake and Blake is muted and the best part is the Bullfights. Only read if you are a big fan of Hemingway.more
Jake Barnes is an expat in Paris, working for a newspaper, and circulating with his small circle of friends. On his annual trip to the fiesta in Pamplona there is the spectacle of the bulls but also the spectacle as his own small social circle starts to implode.Hemingway's novel is perhaps a bit lost on me. The narrative is rather straight forward, the language itself rather simplistic and yet extremely evocative. None of the characters are particularly sympathetic. And while the novel is considered one of the great works of fiction of "the lost generation" I'm not sure that I picked up on all of the themes and concepts Heminway is exploring. Definitely a novel that I would love to take apart in a classroom setting to really start digging into the text.more
I love this book. It's one of my all-time favorites and I've read it every few years since I was in junior high school.The narrator, Jake Barnes, is an American reporter living in Paris in the 1920's. The book has a very loose plot that centers around his friends' lives as expatriates and their travel to Pamplona, Spain to watch the bullfighting matches during the Fiesta. Woven throughout the story is Jake's romantic interest in Lady Brett Ashley. He sits by and watches as she becomes involved with most of his friends but he knows they can never have a relationship. This is because Jake suffered a certain injury during the war and Brett is never satisfied and quickly discards men anyway. The book sums up the entire relationship in the last few lines when Brett states "We could have had such a damned good time together." and Jakes replies "Isn't it pretty to think so?"What I enjoy most about this book is the extreme detail that Hemingway provides in his description of settings and scenery. You have a sense of reading someone's travel journal. This is in direct contrast to his approach with dialogue, however. Here, he is very precise and minimalistic. Character interactions become almost stilted and robotic. However, the characters are "tight" most of the time and the writing mimics a stuporous dialect. This leads me to the one element that always takes me by surprise; the vast quantity of alcohol consumed by the characters. As they travel between cafes, restaurants and bars in the course of an evening, it's not uncommon for each to have drunk 3 or more bottles of wine and numerous cocktails; mainly whiskey and absinthe.If you've ever dreamed of dropping everything and leisurely traveling the world or are interested in fishing, boxing or bullfighting, then you'll enjoy this book.more
I think this was his first novel and I have to say that the book drew me into a love affair with Hemingway that would last a lifetime. Men being men, doing what they do and chasing the impossible but chasing it with style and being who they want to be. The pace may not be as fast as some people would like but that's Hemingway's style and as such its all intentional ... and I personally found all that is right and good in life in this book. We live we die but it is how we live that defines us. A great book!more
I liked this book much better than The Old Man and the Sea; though similar in style, the topic was quite different and this one appealed to me much more.The characters in the novel are pretty much rich kids, spending their days drinking and being bored, and the novel reaches it's climax when they go to Pamplona to see the bullfights.Hemingway has a great style, and I think he succeeds very well in conveying a sense of 'emptiness' that hangs over the lives of his characters. In a way it seems like nothing really matters to them, nothing is of importance, nothing really touches them. It's a bit depressing, but beautifully written and it drew me in and kept me reading.more
Good story of "Lost Generation" literary types in Paris who decide to go to Pamplona in the 1920's to see the bullfights. Four men revolve around Lady Brett Ashley, an English flapper who's also a drunkard and divorcee - they're all in love with her. Pity, Jake, the narrator of the story loves her too, but cannot act on it due to a war injury that has left him impotent. In love with him herself, she and Jake can only wish and reflect on how pretty it would be to have a life together. He watches from the sidelines as she goes from one man to another, drinking her way through them, trying to forget the fact the man she met during the war and fell in love with can never make love to her. A slice of life amidst the dissolute and drunk set, whiling their lives away hoping for something of which they don't know what.more
I've seen some bad reviews of this book, and that just blows me away, because I find Hemingway's first big novel to be a brilliant ride that perfectly evokes the vibe and angst of the Lost Generation. It literally takes you for as trip along with a group of American and English expats as they journey from 1902s Paris to the gritty and brutal bullfights in Spain. The romantic side of the story features the flamboyant Lady Brett Ashley, who Jake Barnes is hopelessly besotted with. As a reader you can easily become immersed in Hemingway's distinctly vivid descriptions of both the romantic locales and violent bullfights, and with the characters' disillusionment, moral bankruptcy and unrequited love. It's got tragedy, romance and locations to die for--and language that lingers in your mind.Hemingway's pacing allows for you to really soak everything in, and forces you to pay attention to his beautiful prose. If a reader is used to speed reading and doesn't have a true appreciation for the language, they will find the book too slow. For those who really appreciate classic literature, you will find the prose stylish, detailed and beautiful. The characters are vibrant, charismatic and quirky, and it's amazing to see how they lived life to the fullest and indulged in debauchery so far back in the day.This book will inspire you to travel, specifically to Spain!more
My first Hemingway and I must say that I was impressed. The "tough guy" writing style along with his natural wittiness is what first caught my attention but it was the characters and their relationships that really drew me in. Brett is one of the most interesting female characters I've read about and, throughout the novel, I found myself wishing that she and Jake could somehow consummate their complex and unobtainable relationship.more
I never feel up to reviewing the works I rate as superb. Maybe it's that I don't feel like I can do justice, but I prefer to think I simply want to enjoy the book. Maybe I don't want to put my own limits and expectations on the next reading. Regardless, Hemingway's breakout novel definitely falls into that category. I enjoyed every bit of it: the characters, the cultural window, and the nuances of human interaction. I haven't read Hemingway in a long time. It's a shame so many people read him in high school, because his books are short and easy to read. At that stage, you don't have the life experience to understand what glows between the lines.more
So here is my problem I rad this book back in high school and could not relate to it. 30 years later I had a better understanding of it, but still can't relate to it nor did I care about any of the characters in the story. I know people rave about Hemingway but to me he is just an ok writer. The only book for me that was readable by him was The Old Man & The Sea. The rest of his books were boring.more
Although my students roundly detest this novel, I enjoy it for its willingness to show an assortment of disillusioned people in the wake of WWI attempting to engage in activities, largely relating drinking and bull fighting, that they can regard as authentic, or as authentic representations of their predicaments of social entrapment, crippling injury, or fatalism. Lady Brett does sexual desire as personal nihilism and good form beautifully, and Jakes's love for her reaches some level of sense making. The anti-Semitism is real in this novel, and quite unfortunate, and this is a group of malcontents who need a convenient scapegoat. They find him and thus anticipate further historical terrors to come. more
Life goes on despite human fragility. "the sun also rises..." Slow paced but intended to be. Life lived without purpose or meaning. Just passing time.more
This was my second reading, after a hiatus of many years.The first chapter is promising, made me feel glad I was rediscovering this title. And then the book falls off a cliff.When you think how influential this novel is, not just for readers who are told it's a great work but for writers for whom it is held up as a paradigm, you/I can't help but be appalled. Dialogue about, frequently, nothing. Pretentiousness. A straining after sophistication and pseudo-weltschmerz. A main character who seems bent on not revealing himself. Geographical name-dropping: Who cares if the author knows the name and cross streets of every street in Paris? A better writer would have put us there, not just rattled off names (see Dickens, Charles--A Tale of Two Cities).If I were a travel agent, though, I'd put several copies of this book in my office for customers to browse. Hemingway may have missed his vocation as a travel writer, but inserting those kinds of passages into a work of fiction only makes for for boring reading, unless the reader delights in that sort of been-there done-that mentality.I hope someone has written about the influence of The Great Gatsby (1925) on this book (1926).more
Hemingway's minimalist style does not stand up for more than a couple dozen pages, and his plot is nonexistent. Read his short stories instead.more
American and English expats living in Paris head down to Pamplona for the bullfights. I love his imagery, especially of Spain and its locals. For Whom the Bell Tolls was... amazing. One of my favorite novels. Perhaps I just didn't understand this one? Maybe you have to be part of the lost generation to empathize with their continual drunkenness and cruelty towards each other. Plus, I'll never understand bullfighting as a noble enterprise. Or perhaps that's the point, they commiserate with a cruel and pointless sport because they are themselves cruel and pointless. Meh, either way I don't much care.more
The book was well written, I suppose, but I found it a complete bore. I could never connect with any of the characters. Hemingway got his point across about this bitter and amoral lost generation of young people after the first world war, who spend their days aimlessly drinking and partying together. I am sure that there is much literary praise for this work and the author, but I wasn't impressed with the book at all.more
Obviously one of the darkest and most seminal works of the 20th century. Perhaps it is not one of the 'darkest' of the 20th century but the premise of a soldier deprived of his manhood is dark indeed to a man of my age. Bukowski commented on this book somewhere in one of his novels, mentioning the story of the reading of it approximately as such:I was reading this book and this guy kept getting to the point where he's going to fuck this girl, (apologies for the language) and he kept getting up and fixing himself a drink instead, only to return to bed. He (Bukowski) thought this was magnificent, and remarked upon the fact that he had never read anything like it. Only to discover that the man's junk was blown off in the war, and he could not have fucked her (again apologies) if he had tried. if anyone knows which of Bukowski's works/notes this occurs in I would be delighted to be reminded of it by a personal message.more
The novel is set in post-WWI Europe, and the characters are American expatriates living in France and drinking to exist, except for Jake Barnes who is the hero of the novel; he is the only character that isn't drunk for the story's entirety. Jake is able to stare into the meaninglessness of the modern world and find some hope in it. Jake's penis was shot off in the war. His balls and testicles remained intact, so is was still capable of being aroused, but unable to consumate his love with Brett, the love of his life. Because he cannot satisfy her sexually, he makes the ultimate sacrifice out of love: he allows Brett to sleep with other men. He watches her satisfy her physical, animal desire with men she does not really love. It is the most painfully romantic book I have ever read. It's a novel about being authentic.In the years directly following WWI, Gertrude Stein said to Hemingway, "You are all a lost generation." Hemingway wrote the novel in response to Stein's insensitive ignorance. He placed Stein's quote at the front of the book, and used this quote from Ecclesiastes to respond to it:One generation passeth away, and another generation cometh; but the earth abideth forever...The sun also ariseth, and the sun goeth down, and hasteth to the place where he arose...The wind goeth toward the south, and turneth about unto the north; it whirleth about continually, and the wind returneth again according to his circuits...All the rivers run into the sea; yet the sea is not full; unto the place from whence the rivers come, thither they return again.Existentialism says we have to live our lives as though they are ends in themselves. If you want to live a good life and be an 'authentic' good person, you have to do it because it's good, because you want to, not because it may get you into Heaven. The question, then, arises about whether or not good morals can exist in a Godless world. Whether people can do things for their own sake. In the novel, most of the characters drink all of the time because the world is meaningless and it doesn't matter what they do; they don't realize they have a responsibility to live a good life.Hemingway uses bull-fighting as a metaphor for this authenticity. Good bull fighters will do it for its own sake, not as a performance for someone else. The descriptions of the bull fights are so beautiful; I hope to see a bull fight in Spain, one day. I leave you with this:Romero's left hand dropped the muleta over the bull's muzzle to blind him, his left shoulder went forward between the horns as the sword went in, and for just an instant he and the bull were one, Romero way out over the bull, the right arm extended high up to where the hilt of the sword had gone in between the bull's shoulders.more
This was a good book, and although it is not my style, it was a pretty easy read. This book follows Jake, an American author living in France after the first world war. Jake and his friends are part of 'the lost generation' and it seems as though they are searching for meaning and purpose in life. In this aspect I felt that the book had no meaning or purpose which I think was the point. I felt it difficult to relate to the characters, Brett the romantic interest in the book was very difficult to understand in today's world. She was Married, getting a divorce and getting remarried to another Man all the while stringing along Jake, the narrator, who was in love with her and she seemed to also love him. I think Brett did not want to settle down, and liked male attention, as well as marrying for social position, which I think was the way it was then. At this time marrying for love was not a common practice. So Brett had many flings that Jake and her husband to be knew about, and I believe Jake understood that they would never be together, even though both of them liked to think about it. This book left me feeling melancholy.I think this is an important book to have read, and it gives some very interesting insight into our past and 'the lost generation' post WWI. If you are going to read this book, I suggest brushing up on history post WWI and maybe even some France and Spain geographymore
Hemingway's best novel was also his first detailing the lives of several expatriate Americans post World War One. They grapple with meaning in their lives, with lost religion, with lost morality, for they are the "lost generation". Like much of better Hemingway, what the author doesn't say is just as important as what he says. The book is therefore very deceptively written: it appears a very easy read, and it is, but there is much that requires thought to glean everything out of the novel that it has to offer. Hemingway's masculine style, terse, athletic, is on great display here. It is hard to imagine how radical this style was when it was presented, as it is essentially how every writer writes today, but compare an opening line of Henry James with the opening line of this novel and you will see.more
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Reviews

I have looked forward for many years to reading another Hemingway novel. I loved A Farewell to Arms and the characters of Frederick Henry and Catherine Barkley have stayed with me for many years. With the understanding that The Sun Also Rises is considered by many to be Hemingway's finest work, I dove in hoping to be as enthralled as I was with AFTA. And so, because I was not, I wonder if I'm judging TSAR somewhat unfairly. But I cannot escape that fundamentally this book is about celebrating the flaws in characters and commending them for being selfish and hateful. This was simply something I did not enjoy. I rate this with three stars because the plot is good (once you get past the first section, which is essentially only to lay the groundwork for the rest of the novel) and because the characters are unforgettable. But they are unforgettable for very different reasons than Lieutenant Henry and his beloved nurse Barkley; they are unforgettable because they are, quite simply, immature and indecent people.

Perhaps I'm being too harsh here. I did enjoy Hemingway's simple style, and the descriptions of the festival at Pamplona are excellent, particularly of the bull fighting towards the end. But at the end of the day, what we have here are men who drink too much, who hate other men because they all desire the same woman, and that one woman is selfish, superficial and someone who uses men only for her ends. I found it very difficult to sympathize with any of them. Robert Cohn may very well be a petty man who is egotistical, but the characters constantly demean him not for these negative qualities but for his Jewish ethnicity. Michael Campbell is a drunken gentlemen prone to fits of rage and rants, but no one stands up to him and calls him out on it. Jake Barnes stands at the center of all of this, and while he seems to have more redeeming qualities than the rest, he also goes along with the childish antics of his friends and engages in foul behavior even when he is aware of its foulness. He is anti-Semitic towards Cohn like all the others and cannot find the inner strength to tear himself away from the poison that is Lady Brett Ashley. Brett Ashley is possibly the worst offender of them all, as she consistently does damage to everyone around her, seems to be aware of this damage, and simply chooses to ignore it as it does not serve her own selfish ends. If there was anything redeeming of the way these characters carry on, it is this: none of them, perhaps save Ashley, get what they want in the end.

My rating reflects the fact that I don't like the characters and I especially hated the anti-Semitic theme with regards to Cohn. But I will not dispute that it is a valuable book and it is written well. I think if anyone were searching for a novel that shows the fruits of pursuing a life of selfishness, depravity and above all drunkenness (I'm not entirely sure the characters were ever sober), this would be it. But don't expect to find characters you can empathize with, because they simply aren't here.more
Doing a re-read of the novel for the Seasonal Reading Challenge (Fall 2009). I loved this book when I studied it in high school, so it will be interesting to see if I feel the same way about it now.more
The whole novel I kept thinking about what kind of novel would the Robert Cohn novel be. Like, we were watching those bit players get drunk. And, really, devoting an entire novel to these rich (well, minus Mike OF COURSE) expats was a little boring at times. All I could think was, how crazy is it that we're not even getting the whole story because these narrators are all so drunk and high that most of the time they are secluding in their own little world and can barely see past their own noses. I bet if we heard from Cohn (don't even get me started on how tired I was getting about hearing about Jews and black people and all of the other insanely offensive terms and stereotypes Hemingway uses) we would see a much more honest account of all that was going on. I wish we could have that novel, too.more
Audiobook reread 12/2011. I listened to this while driving back and forth to work with the rest of the working stiffs. It is a good book, and I enjoyed it a great deal. It is a sad and funny book. A sad, funny book. And I enjoyed it a great deal.more
This book contains the best Hemingway line ever: "the road to hell is paved with unbought stuffed dogs."


That's the highlight; now you can skip it.more
After, reading The Paris Wife, I was disappointed in The Sun Also Rises. So many of the scenes are repeated in both books, with more detail in The Paris Wife. All the drinking and carousing and fighting becomes too much. The relationships are sketchy in both books. The bull fighting and fishing are very detailed. I would venture to say that The Sun Also Rises is a book that most men would enjoy, but I felt under currents of homosexuality.more
A beautifully constructed novel with characters marked by depravity and caprice. The narrator and his friends struggle with a lack of morality and purpose. Jake, the narrator and main character, is the closet to understanding God, though still lost. He sees people more clearly than any other character and his choices are the most rational. Bullfigting is a major symbol in this novel with multiple possible interpretations. I think that bullfigting represents purity and purpose. At the beginning of the novel, Jake says "Nobody lives their life all the way up except bull-fighters".The passage that describes the first bullfight seems to be the most clear and pure passage of the novel . Preceding and following this passage are a mess of parties, relational confusion, fights, drunkenness, and general debauchery. Earlier in the novel, Jake is given the title "aficionado", meaning passion. This is in relation to his love of bullfighting. Jake is a true fan who understands the sport and watches it with passion. In general, Jake recognizes purity and the finality of life. Juxtaposing Jake's character is, the love of his life, a lady named Brett, who lusts after her many different suitors and does not have a clear idea of what she wants. Her motives are always for her gain. Jake's love for Brett is consistent throughout the novel. He does everything to maintain his friendship with her, even if it might be painful to him. Brett does everything for herself lacking any concern about how her actions hurt others. During one of the bullfights, Jake explains to her how the sport works. The purpose of explaining the sport to Brett is "so that it became more something that was going on with a definite end, and less of a spectacle with unexplained horrors". Brett, ironically, is infatuated with the bullfighter. He is a young bullfighter who does everything with purity and perfect form. She goes away with him. Her actions accentuate the carelessness of all characters in the book. She can't help but act according to her desires.This novel illustrates the pains of immoral and selfish choices. It is full of beautiful, multi-faceted symbolism and a struggle to find God at the center.more
Predictable in the drinking, chasing women, fishing and bullfighting. Surprising in the lyrical descriptions of place, whether in the countryside of Spain or in Paris, and that the person in power was a woman, Brett Ashley. That said, Brett's power resided in her beauty not in intellect of accomplishments.more
After reading this book about the lost generation I felt a little lost. The writing is sparse but the Fiesta at Pamplona, the bullfights and 1920s Paris is well portrayed. The book begins by introducing a character and then switching to the main character Jake who then meets up with the femme fatale, Blake, funny name for a girl, but in the end the plot never really comes together. The first character disappears, and the supposed romance between Jake and Blake is muted and the best part is the Bullfights. Only read if you are a big fan of Hemingway.more
Jake Barnes is an expat in Paris, working for a newspaper, and circulating with his small circle of friends. On his annual trip to the fiesta in Pamplona there is the spectacle of the bulls but also the spectacle as his own small social circle starts to implode.Hemingway's novel is perhaps a bit lost on me. The narrative is rather straight forward, the language itself rather simplistic and yet extremely evocative. None of the characters are particularly sympathetic. And while the novel is considered one of the great works of fiction of "the lost generation" I'm not sure that I picked up on all of the themes and concepts Heminway is exploring. Definitely a novel that I would love to take apart in a classroom setting to really start digging into the text.more
I love this book. It's one of my all-time favorites and I've read it every few years since I was in junior high school.The narrator, Jake Barnes, is an American reporter living in Paris in the 1920's. The book has a very loose plot that centers around his friends' lives as expatriates and their travel to Pamplona, Spain to watch the bullfighting matches during the Fiesta. Woven throughout the story is Jake's romantic interest in Lady Brett Ashley. He sits by and watches as she becomes involved with most of his friends but he knows they can never have a relationship. This is because Jake suffered a certain injury during the war and Brett is never satisfied and quickly discards men anyway. The book sums up the entire relationship in the last few lines when Brett states "We could have had such a damned good time together." and Jakes replies "Isn't it pretty to think so?"What I enjoy most about this book is the extreme detail that Hemingway provides in his description of settings and scenery. You have a sense of reading someone's travel journal. This is in direct contrast to his approach with dialogue, however. Here, he is very precise and minimalistic. Character interactions become almost stilted and robotic. However, the characters are "tight" most of the time and the writing mimics a stuporous dialect. This leads me to the one element that always takes me by surprise; the vast quantity of alcohol consumed by the characters. As they travel between cafes, restaurants and bars in the course of an evening, it's not uncommon for each to have drunk 3 or more bottles of wine and numerous cocktails; mainly whiskey and absinthe.If you've ever dreamed of dropping everything and leisurely traveling the world or are interested in fishing, boxing or bullfighting, then you'll enjoy this book.more
I think this was his first novel and I have to say that the book drew me into a love affair with Hemingway that would last a lifetime. Men being men, doing what they do and chasing the impossible but chasing it with style and being who they want to be. The pace may not be as fast as some people would like but that's Hemingway's style and as such its all intentional ... and I personally found all that is right and good in life in this book. We live we die but it is how we live that defines us. A great book!more
I liked this book much better than The Old Man and the Sea; though similar in style, the topic was quite different and this one appealed to me much more.The characters in the novel are pretty much rich kids, spending their days drinking and being bored, and the novel reaches it's climax when they go to Pamplona to see the bullfights.Hemingway has a great style, and I think he succeeds very well in conveying a sense of 'emptiness' that hangs over the lives of his characters. In a way it seems like nothing really matters to them, nothing is of importance, nothing really touches them. It's a bit depressing, but beautifully written and it drew me in and kept me reading.more
Good story of "Lost Generation" literary types in Paris who decide to go to Pamplona in the 1920's to see the bullfights. Four men revolve around Lady Brett Ashley, an English flapper who's also a drunkard and divorcee - they're all in love with her. Pity, Jake, the narrator of the story loves her too, but cannot act on it due to a war injury that has left him impotent. In love with him herself, she and Jake can only wish and reflect on how pretty it would be to have a life together. He watches from the sidelines as she goes from one man to another, drinking her way through them, trying to forget the fact the man she met during the war and fell in love with can never make love to her. A slice of life amidst the dissolute and drunk set, whiling their lives away hoping for something of which they don't know what.more
I've seen some bad reviews of this book, and that just blows me away, because I find Hemingway's first big novel to be a brilliant ride that perfectly evokes the vibe and angst of the Lost Generation. It literally takes you for as trip along with a group of American and English expats as they journey from 1902s Paris to the gritty and brutal bullfights in Spain. The romantic side of the story features the flamboyant Lady Brett Ashley, who Jake Barnes is hopelessly besotted with. As a reader you can easily become immersed in Hemingway's distinctly vivid descriptions of both the romantic locales and violent bullfights, and with the characters' disillusionment, moral bankruptcy and unrequited love. It's got tragedy, romance and locations to die for--and language that lingers in your mind.Hemingway's pacing allows for you to really soak everything in, and forces you to pay attention to his beautiful prose. If a reader is used to speed reading and doesn't have a true appreciation for the language, they will find the book too slow. For those who really appreciate classic literature, you will find the prose stylish, detailed and beautiful. The characters are vibrant, charismatic and quirky, and it's amazing to see how they lived life to the fullest and indulged in debauchery so far back in the day.This book will inspire you to travel, specifically to Spain!more
My first Hemingway and I must say that I was impressed. The "tough guy" writing style along with his natural wittiness is what first caught my attention but it was the characters and their relationships that really drew me in. Brett is one of the most interesting female characters I've read about and, throughout the novel, I found myself wishing that she and Jake could somehow consummate their complex and unobtainable relationship.more
I never feel up to reviewing the works I rate as superb. Maybe it's that I don't feel like I can do justice, but I prefer to think I simply want to enjoy the book. Maybe I don't want to put my own limits and expectations on the next reading. Regardless, Hemingway's breakout novel definitely falls into that category. I enjoyed every bit of it: the characters, the cultural window, and the nuances of human interaction. I haven't read Hemingway in a long time. It's a shame so many people read him in high school, because his books are short and easy to read. At that stage, you don't have the life experience to understand what glows between the lines.more
So here is my problem I rad this book back in high school and could not relate to it. 30 years later I had a better understanding of it, but still can't relate to it nor did I care about any of the characters in the story. I know people rave about Hemingway but to me he is just an ok writer. The only book for me that was readable by him was The Old Man & The Sea. The rest of his books were boring.more
Although my students roundly detest this novel, I enjoy it for its willingness to show an assortment of disillusioned people in the wake of WWI attempting to engage in activities, largely relating drinking and bull fighting, that they can regard as authentic, or as authentic representations of their predicaments of social entrapment, crippling injury, or fatalism. Lady Brett does sexual desire as personal nihilism and good form beautifully, and Jakes's love for her reaches some level of sense making. The anti-Semitism is real in this novel, and quite unfortunate, and this is a group of malcontents who need a convenient scapegoat. They find him and thus anticipate further historical terrors to come. more
Life goes on despite human fragility. "the sun also rises..." Slow paced but intended to be. Life lived without purpose or meaning. Just passing time.more
This was my second reading, after a hiatus of many years.The first chapter is promising, made me feel glad I was rediscovering this title. And then the book falls off a cliff.When you think how influential this novel is, not just for readers who are told it's a great work but for writers for whom it is held up as a paradigm, you/I can't help but be appalled. Dialogue about, frequently, nothing. Pretentiousness. A straining after sophistication and pseudo-weltschmerz. A main character who seems bent on not revealing himself. Geographical name-dropping: Who cares if the author knows the name and cross streets of every street in Paris? A better writer would have put us there, not just rattled off names (see Dickens, Charles--A Tale of Two Cities).If I were a travel agent, though, I'd put several copies of this book in my office for customers to browse. Hemingway may have missed his vocation as a travel writer, but inserting those kinds of passages into a work of fiction only makes for for boring reading, unless the reader delights in that sort of been-there done-that mentality.I hope someone has written about the influence of The Great Gatsby (1925) on this book (1926).more
Hemingway's minimalist style does not stand up for more than a couple dozen pages, and his plot is nonexistent. Read his short stories instead.more
American and English expats living in Paris head down to Pamplona for the bullfights. I love his imagery, especially of Spain and its locals. For Whom the Bell Tolls was... amazing. One of my favorite novels. Perhaps I just didn't understand this one? Maybe you have to be part of the lost generation to empathize with their continual drunkenness and cruelty towards each other. Plus, I'll never understand bullfighting as a noble enterprise. Or perhaps that's the point, they commiserate with a cruel and pointless sport because they are themselves cruel and pointless. Meh, either way I don't much care.more
The book was well written, I suppose, but I found it a complete bore. I could never connect with any of the characters. Hemingway got his point across about this bitter and amoral lost generation of young people after the first world war, who spend their days aimlessly drinking and partying together. I am sure that there is much literary praise for this work and the author, but I wasn't impressed with the book at all.more
Obviously one of the darkest and most seminal works of the 20th century. Perhaps it is not one of the 'darkest' of the 20th century but the premise of a soldier deprived of his manhood is dark indeed to a man of my age. Bukowski commented on this book somewhere in one of his novels, mentioning the story of the reading of it approximately as such:I was reading this book and this guy kept getting to the point where he's going to fuck this girl, (apologies for the language) and he kept getting up and fixing himself a drink instead, only to return to bed. He (Bukowski) thought this was magnificent, and remarked upon the fact that he had never read anything like it. Only to discover that the man's junk was blown off in the war, and he could not have fucked her (again apologies) if he had tried. if anyone knows which of Bukowski's works/notes this occurs in I would be delighted to be reminded of it by a personal message.more
The novel is set in post-WWI Europe, and the characters are American expatriates living in France and drinking to exist, except for Jake Barnes who is the hero of the novel; he is the only character that isn't drunk for the story's entirety. Jake is able to stare into the meaninglessness of the modern world and find some hope in it. Jake's penis was shot off in the war. His balls and testicles remained intact, so is was still capable of being aroused, but unable to consumate his love with Brett, the love of his life. Because he cannot satisfy her sexually, he makes the ultimate sacrifice out of love: he allows Brett to sleep with other men. He watches her satisfy her physical, animal desire with men she does not really love. It is the most painfully romantic book I have ever read. It's a novel about being authentic.In the years directly following WWI, Gertrude Stein said to Hemingway, "You are all a lost generation." Hemingway wrote the novel in response to Stein's insensitive ignorance. He placed Stein's quote at the front of the book, and used this quote from Ecclesiastes to respond to it:One generation passeth away, and another generation cometh; but the earth abideth forever...The sun also ariseth, and the sun goeth down, and hasteth to the place where he arose...The wind goeth toward the south, and turneth about unto the north; it whirleth about continually, and the wind returneth again according to his circuits...All the rivers run into the sea; yet the sea is not full; unto the place from whence the rivers come, thither they return again.Existentialism says we have to live our lives as though they are ends in themselves. If you want to live a good life and be an 'authentic' good person, you have to do it because it's good, because you want to, not because it may get you into Heaven. The question, then, arises about whether or not good morals can exist in a Godless world. Whether people can do things for their own sake. In the novel, most of the characters drink all of the time because the world is meaningless and it doesn't matter what they do; they don't realize they have a responsibility to live a good life.Hemingway uses bull-fighting as a metaphor for this authenticity. Good bull fighters will do it for its own sake, not as a performance for someone else. The descriptions of the bull fights are so beautiful; I hope to see a bull fight in Spain, one day. I leave you with this:Romero's left hand dropped the muleta over the bull's muzzle to blind him, his left shoulder went forward between the horns as the sword went in, and for just an instant he and the bull were one, Romero way out over the bull, the right arm extended high up to where the hilt of the sword had gone in between the bull's shoulders.more
This was a good book, and although it is not my style, it was a pretty easy read. This book follows Jake, an American author living in France after the first world war. Jake and his friends are part of 'the lost generation' and it seems as though they are searching for meaning and purpose in life. In this aspect I felt that the book had no meaning or purpose which I think was the point. I felt it difficult to relate to the characters, Brett the romantic interest in the book was very difficult to understand in today's world. She was Married, getting a divorce and getting remarried to another Man all the while stringing along Jake, the narrator, who was in love with her and she seemed to also love him. I think Brett did not want to settle down, and liked male attention, as well as marrying for social position, which I think was the way it was then. At this time marrying for love was not a common practice. So Brett had many flings that Jake and her husband to be knew about, and I believe Jake understood that they would never be together, even though both of them liked to think about it. This book left me feeling melancholy.I think this is an important book to have read, and it gives some very interesting insight into our past and 'the lost generation' post WWI. If you are going to read this book, I suggest brushing up on history post WWI and maybe even some France and Spain geographymore
Hemingway's best novel was also his first detailing the lives of several expatriate Americans post World War One. They grapple with meaning in their lives, with lost religion, with lost morality, for they are the "lost generation". Like much of better Hemingway, what the author doesn't say is just as important as what he says. The book is therefore very deceptively written: it appears a very easy read, and it is, but there is much that requires thought to glean everything out of the novel that it has to offer. Hemingway's masculine style, terse, athletic, is on great display here. It is hard to imagine how radical this style was when it was presented, as it is essentially how every writer writes today, but compare an opening line of Henry James with the opening line of this novel and you will see.more
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