Really excited to read this book! I have recently read A Farewell to Arms and enjoyed his classic writing style in a historical novel. Hopefully this one won't take me as long as Grapes of Wrath, however these classics are worth the time :)
there are so many strong scenes here. to me the book plays like an intensely involving film, one from which many can learn. hemingway writes of the code of honor, here, as well as of first love, of fealty to one's mother, about the necessity to fight fascism.
This is a story that captures both the actuality of spirit as well as the dubious minds of war. It portrays both bravery and timidity, in the beautifully descriptive words that only Hemingway was acknowledged for. His main character Robert Jordan was a college teacher before he makes the decision to leave his job to take part in america's part in the Spanish revolution. He truly believes within his heart that he can make a difference in the war. The story although encompasses a short time frame of just less than three days, during which he changes completely as a man and is faced with the challenge of blowing up a bridge. Within those three days he falls in love with a young Spanish woman within the encampment, when Robert is awaiting to blow up the bridge he becomes involved in conflict with guerrilla fighters.This is a well paced story and never boring, with action suspense and romance, all coming together and fitting perfectly. Along with a beautiful setting that you'll be able to feel the cold and smell the forest with the way that solely Ernest Hemingway can describe it. A splendid and beautifully told story that I would suggest to anyone of any age or gender. In my opinion this is my favorite work from Hemingway and would have no problem placing it at the top of the list among his other works. - @magicsoup of the Teen Review Board at the Hamilton Public Library
This book reads like a Sylvester Stallone film set during the Spanish Civil War. The characters are one dimensional and the story line predictable. This is my first acquaintance with Hemmingway and was quite disappointed. George Orwell's Homage to Catalonia and Georges Bataille's Blue of Noon are much more endearing individual accounts of the war.
Kind of a plodding narrative makes this novel more difficult to read then it should. Sound themes and decent characterizations are lost within that narrative.
Removing "Hemingway" from the by-line and reviewing as a work by an unknown writer, frees ones to criticize it as failing in many ways. 1. His main character, Robert Jordan, is always referred by both names...for reason unknown. 2. Using Old English 2nd person (thou, thee, thy, canst, ...) to substitute for the familiar in Spanish makes it sound stilted and clunky to read. 3. Swearing in Spanish is translated to "obscenity," rather than leaving it in Spanish for the prudish reader. 4. Endless, trivial repetitions especially in the first 300 pages. There is a good story here, but could have been written better.
great story about the Spanish civil war. great hemingway style-crisply written. amazing how he gives you a great view of what these people were about and what drove them and what they feared. all done in a fast moving pace.
The first half of this book takes either incredible stamina or a deep appreciation of the smaller things in life and of the local culture and circumstances of the story, not because the story is not an interesting one but simply because of the microscopic scale of the plot. I would say that I had a mix of these two, so I was able to enjoy the beginning of the book as well as the end, which I loved. It's definitely interesting to test yourself by reading something at such a profoundly different pace then you're used to, and to see the beautiful level of detail and reality that can be attained by it. Highly recommended.
What struck me most in this novel was the language. Hemingway of course is known for his journalistic style, but there it was his willingness to mirror the Spanish language, making the distinction between the thou and the you to demonstrate familiarity and ultimately emotion.
The politics were well explained without being burdening; the cultural aspects and the horrors of the war are very moving and bring the readers into the story, especially at the end, where we are left alone with Jordan. Finally, I liked the flashback to the American Civil War - it made me better understand why Jordan was there in the first place, so all ties in well from a historical and psychological perspective. Definitely a tour de force.
Last third of this book is magnificent...up to that point VERY slow.
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