Monday, August 20, 2012

Review: The Sun Also Rises

I just finished reading said Hemingway novel. A quick read in one sense (barely 200pp). A long read in another (a reference to Hemingway's style). I liked the book. I did. But I did a lot of reading without any idea of what the hell it all meant. I still don't know exactly.

What I get out of the book is this. Beyond the themes of nature and death, it's about Jake. It's about hope. It's about despair. I don't think it's really about him and Brett and their forsaken relationship, despite that the novel ends, much as it began, with the two basically expressing their love for each other and yet acknowledging that they can't be together. It's more about Jake's raison d'etre. He is unable to perform sexually, yet he desires women, specifically Brett. He idolizes Romero, a bullfighter, his idealized macho male, yet Jake, as a journalist, does not fit this mold. Jake is confronted with a reality where he has little to hope for. And in much of the novel, hence the long blocks of nothing really happening, he wastes away, dining, drinking, and partying about with Bill and Michael and Cohn. There doesn't seem to be much of a point to it. In fact, the happiest he is, it seems, is when Bill and him are in the town of Burguete, away from Cohn and Michael and Brett in Pamplona, where the two fish and enjoy nature and sleep warmly in beds, the outside freezing cold. Society is noisy and unpleasant, living pleasure-seeking pointless lives. The best life, it seems, is that which is simple and closest to nature.

A good read. Liked it. Could've done without the long passages that emphasized the wasting away, though - I get it Hemingway. Love his style, though. Iceberg theory. It's improved my writing.

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