09 June 2009

38. A Farewell To Arms

A Farewell To Arms - Ernest Hemingway
This is supposed to be "The best American novel to emerge out of World War I". My sister-in-law says she loved this book. It is written by Hemingway. This is the same guy who wrote "The Sun Also Rises", "For Whom The Bell Tolls", and "The Old Man and the Sea". (None of which have I read) I had high expectations for this book.
I was let down. Was it because I expected more? Was it because the book just was not that good? I am not really sure, but probably the former.
My observations...Frederic Henry and Catherine Barkley are quite irritating when they are together. "Do you love me?" "Yes, I love you." Do you really love me?" "Yes, I really love you." "Are you sure I am not unlovable?" "I love you just like you are." "Are you sure?"..... oh just shut the hell up! This type of interaction drove me crazy.
What I think was really going on is that Frederic and Catherine wanted to be in love so badly that they made themselves believe they were in love, but really had no idea. They secluded themselves and convinced themselves they loved each other, and then acted according to what they thought people in love should act like.
I worked through this book.
I enjoyed the parts where Frederic was "retreating" from the front and then escaping/deserting to get back to Catherine. That was pretty interesting.
The descriptions of the places, the scenery, the mountains, the lakes, the train, etc, were very good. The people on the other hand, not so much for me.
Oh...and these guys (the male characters) and really just a bunch of womanizing drunkards. They were constantly drinking.
Does it really rain that much in Italy?
Read it if you want. It is Hemingway. I will try "The Sun Also Rises", but my expectations will not be as great the next time.
Moving on now.... :-)

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