|There are a lot of pretty cheesy covers for this book out there. I picked the one I liked the best!|
Ernest Hemingway's A Farewell to Arms, published in 1929, is his second major novel, preceded by The Sun Also Rises (1926). The Hemingway I've read in the past have all been from his later years--The Old Man and the Sea, For Whom the Bell Tolls, and Across the River and Into the Trees, plus a number of short stories. I liked Farewell to Arms the best so far.
Yes, the style is easy to parody--everything is fine, grand, or splendid, and the word "very" shows up least once per page--but I found the character and story of Frederic Henry to be compelling.
Set in during WWI (1917/1918), I found the descriptions of the Italian and Swiss countryside to be particularly interesting, and the war scenes with Henry, a lieutenant in the Italian army, serving as an ambulance driver, were incredibly rich in detail.
If I had read the book as a teen or young adult, I would have focused on the love story between Henry and Catherine Barkley, and would have found myself skimming the war scenes. Now, especially since I am trying to understand the mechanics of the early 20th century, I avidly read the war scenes but found my mind wandering a bit as the lovers ("Darling" is another overused word) engaged in endless boring dialogue about drinking, making love, and getting married...someday.
Having read this book, I'm interested in finding a good bio on Hemingway.
Since I'm going on a family vacation to Paris and the Dordogne region this summer, I'm also planning to read Hemingway's A Moveable Feast this spring. And, I would also like to read The Sun Also Rises and reread For Whom the Bell Tolls, plus I have a copy of The Paris Wife, by Paula McLain that I want to read as well.
Visiting Dry Tortuga NP is on my travel wish list for sometime soon, and that would enable me to visit Hemingway's house on Key West. Sounds like I might be setting myself up for a mini-course on Hemingway.
First book in the Back to the Classics 2018 challenge done!