Saturday, May 21, 2022

For Whom the Bell Tolls, by Hemingway

 Not my favorite of Hemingway's books. Not by a long shot. "Read" this one on Audible. 

Spoilers follow.

Set in '30s Spain. War. Right up my alley, falling between the Wars as I like. Some interesting parts to this book. The author gave us the feeling of Spanish in his dialogues; thee, thou, wouldst, those sorts, in line with the informal you (tu) of español. 

The guerrilla warfare part of this long novel was great. Could come from a textbook on asymmetric warfare. I don't know enough about the Spanish civil war (beyond the wonderful, and perhaps my favorite Picasso, painting Guernica), but one doesn't have to know that much to read this book. 

But good God, ok, I get it Robert Jordan, I mean, Roberto: you love Maria. OK. ¡suficiente! Dear God by the end I was praying for her death. 

One thing I like about Hemingway's writing (A Clean Well-Lighted Place...so perfect!) is he doesn't follow the rules. None of this "dump the adverbs; show don't tell; use verbs other than say." Every single dialogue in this book except maybe two times IIRC used "he said" or "she said." Once I remember "he insisted" and there was another one I took note of but can't recall now. Refreshing.

Still, that too-perfect love crap--if I had read it cold not knowing the author I would have immediately known it was a male author. So unrealistic. Great ending though! (No, my prayer was not answered.)

Spoilers done.

This is on my Classics 50 list, so that's one more off the list. Still 40-something left, but also still four and a half years!



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