I’ve only ever read The Old Man and the Sea, so I thought it was high time I started on some longer Hemingway. Good. Grief. Now I understand why he drank.
A Farewell to Arms focuses on Frederic Henry, who is in Italy fighting the German-Austrian Army during WWI, before the US declared their involvement. Henry meets Elizabeth Barkley an English (or Scottish?) nurse and embarks on a passionate affair. Hemingway juxtaposes the war and the relationship, showing how the stakes become riskier for Henry to become more involved with his comrades and his lover.
Hemingway’s quick, short sentences make up a terse style that fits perfectly when discussing war. The bursts of action are perfectly captured with this style, and it made me feel that I was with Lt. Henry on the front. I was prepared for it not to end well–it is Hemingway, after all.
I was not prepared, to have the world built up only to collapse completely on me. Damn you, Hemingway. I got invested, and then you had to tear it all down. I won’t say anymore, but I was pretty devastated by how badly it ended. I think it’s indicative of modernism just how bleak the world seemed after the War. I do recommend reading it, but just be prepared to be crushed.