Giving Hemingway Another Shot

Title: For Whom the Bell Tolls
Author: Ernest Hemingway
Genre: American Classic about Spain
Pages: 480
Rating: 2.5 of 5

I try to give most well-known classic authors at least a couple tries before I decide that they’re not for me. After all, theoretically, there must be something of value in their writing since it’s considered classic. This was my third Hemingway and probably my last.

I found the general subject matter interesting: a guerrilla’s-eye-view of the Spanish civil war. Stylistically, the famed stripped-down Hemingway style neither amazes nor annoys me (though the deliberate self-censorship featuring phrases like, “go to the unprintable and unprint thyself” was humorous). What grates on me with Hemingway is the bleak outlook that seems to pervade his work and his obsession with macho manliness. I can see how he would appeal to some people, but I probably won’t bother with anything else by him. I don’t need 400+ pages of “It’s probably going to fail and even if it doesn’t what’s the point of it all?”

I’m using this as for the Classic that has been on your TBR the longest category at the Back to the Classics Challenge (I kept putting off trying Hemingway again, hoping that older me would get more out of it… the experiment was not a success). That’s the last category that I needed to finish, so stay tuned later this week for the wrap-up post.