The Complete Short Stories of Ernest Hemingway Audible – Intimatenights.co.uk


The Complete Short Stories of Ernest Hemingway One time there was a bull and his name was not Ferdinand and he cared nothing for flowers Hemingway s reputation precedes him a misogynistic, alcoholic, macho author whose maximum sentence length was five words Given all this, it is difficult to understand why feminist, vegetarian, and highbrow folks often end up reading and enjoying his work as I ve seen happen Clearly there isto Hemingway than his myth but separating the man from his reputation is especially difficult in his case One time there was a bull and his name was not Ferdinand and he cared nothing for flowers Hemingway s reputation precedes him a misogynistic, alcoholic, macho author whose maximum sentence length was five words Given all this, it is difficult to understand why feminist, vegetarian, and highbrow folks often end up reading and enjoying his work as I ve seen happen Clearly there isto Hemingway than his myth but separating the man from his reputation is especially difficult in his case, since the myth, however simplifying, has a substantial grain of truth The best place to begin this disentanglement may be his short stories Hemingway was an excellent writer of short stories, perhaps even better than he was a novelist, and these stories display his qualities in concentrated form More than that, the succession of tales allows the reader to see Hemingway in all his favorite attitudes, which makes this an ideal place for the critic to set to work The most conspicuous aspect of Hemingway s writing is his style He was, above all, a stylist and his prose has probably been the most influential of the previous century He uses simple words and avoids grammatical subordination instead of commas, parentheses, or semicolons he simply uses the word and The final affect is staccato, lean, and blunt the sentences tumble forward in a series of broken images, accumulating into a disjointed pile The tone is deadpan neither rising to a crescendo nor ascending into lyricism One imagines most lines read by someone who has been hypnotized, in a subdued monotone On the level of story and structure, too, Hemingway is a stylist He developed characteristic ways of omitting material and splicing scenes to disorient the reader Between two lines of conversation, for example, many minutes may have elapsed Characters typically talk around the issue, only eluding vaguely to the principle event that determined the story, thus leaving readers to grasp at straws The most famous example of this may be Hills Like White Elephants, a sparse conversation between a couple in which they make or don t a decision to do something or other Hemingway s most typical plot strategy is to fill a story with atmospheric descriptions and seemingly pointless conversations until everything suddenly explodes right before the end My favorite example of this is The Capital of the World, which is hardly a story at all until the final moments His protagonists who are, to my knowledge, exclusively male are most often harboring some traumatic memory and find themselves drifting towards the next traumatic event that ends the narrative The uncomfortable darkness surrounding their past creates an anxious sense of foreboding about their future which the events usually justify and this is how Hemingway keeps up the tension that gets readers to the end Hemingway is certainly not a writer of characters An experiment will make this very clear Read the dialogue of any of his protagonists out loud, and even Hemingway fans will have difficulty saying who is doing the talking In short, all of his protagonists sound the same like Hemingway himself You might say that Hemingway had one big character with many different manifestations Luckily this character is compelling damaged but tough, proud but sensitive, capable of both callousness and tenderness and, most important, highly original A much underappreciated aspect of this character, by the way, is the humor Hemingway had a dry and occasionally absurdist comedic sense, which can be seen most clearly in this collection in The Good Lion a story about a lion who only eats Italian food His stories circle tightly around the same subjects war, boxing, bullfighting, fishing, hunting, and desperate love affairs with alcohol ever present Without doubt Hemingway was attracted to violence But he is not a Tarantino, an aficionado of the aesthetics of violence Rather, violence for Hemingway is not beautiful in itself but a kind of necessary crucible to reduce life to its barest elements For with life, like prose, Hemingway was a minimalist and a purist And the essential question of life, for him, was what a man did when faced with an overpowering force whether this came in the form of a bull, a marlin, a war, or nature itself And the typical Hemingway response to this conundrum is to go down swinging with a kind of grim resolve, even if you d rather just not bother with the whole ordeal Nature plays an interesting double role in Hemingway s fiction as adversary and comforter Sometimes characters escape into nature, like Nick Adams going fishing Other times they must face it down, like Francis Macomber with his buffalo Yet nature is never to be passively enjoyed, as a bird watcher or a naturalist, but must always be engaged with as either predator or prey Of course you always end up as the prey in the end that s not the question The question is whether these roles are performed with dignity bravery, resolve, skill or without Writing itself, for him, is a kind of hunting, a hunting inside of yourself for the cold truth, and must also be done bravely or the writer will end up producing rubbish And even the writer ends up prey in the end eaten by his own demons This, as far as I can tell, is Hemingway s insistent theme the central thread that ties his other interests together And one s final reaction to his work will thus rest on the extent to which one thinks that this view encapsulates reality For me, and I believe for many readers, Hemingway at his best does capture an essential part of life, one that is usually missed or ignored But such a universally cannibalistic world is difficult to stomach in large doses Even within the boundaries of his own style, Hemingway has some notable defects He most often gets into trouble nowadays for his portrayal of women And it is true that none of them, to my memory, are three dimensional What most puts me off is the cloyingly subordinate way that many of the women speak to their partners But what I found evenuncomfortable was Hemingway s racist treatment of black characters, which was hard to take at times And as I mentioned in another review, I can also do with fewer mentions of food and drink These criticisms are just small sample of what can be lodged at him Yet even the harshest critic, if they are a sensitive reader, must admit that he is a writer who cuts deeply When Hemingway s story and his style hit their stride, the effect is powerful and unforgettable My personal favorite is the paragraphs in The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber, when the narration switches to the lion s point of view Macomber stepped out of the curved opening at the side of the front seat, onto the step and down onto the ground The lion still stood looking majestically and coolly toward this object that his eyes only showed in silhouette, bulking like some super rhino There was no man smell carried toward him and he watched the object, moving his great head a little from side to side Then watching the object, not afraid, but hesitating before going down the bank to drink with such a thing opposite him, he saw a man figure detach itself from it and he turned his heavy head and swung away toward the cover of the trees as he heard a cracking crash and felt the slam of a.30 06 220 grain solid bullet that bit his flank and ripped in sudden hot scalding nausea through his stomach This is Hemingway at his best pointed, witty, captivating a complex world in a few pages, and very suggestive He offers a wide variety of topics war stories without heroism, and heroism without frills, adolescents on the loose, and especially nuptial emptiness And of course, sarcasm and cynicism are all around I liked this eventhan his novels 3.5 stars Night Before Battle I was thinking last night, while we were watching M A S H , about Hemingway s preoccupation with war There is an episode of M A S H , not the one we were watching, where they make a thinly veiled attack on Hemingway s war writing A famous journalist author with a red beard and huge physical presence comes to the 4077th and has a run in of philosophy with Hawkeye and BJ I think it was BJ , and he s written off as a bloodthirsty exploiter of warfare.As a take on Hemingway Night Before Battle I was thinking last night, while we were watching M A S H , about Hemingway s preoccupation with war There is an episode of M A S H , not the one we were watching, where they make a thinly veiled attack on Hemingway s war writing A famous journalist author with a red beard and huge physical presence comes to the 4077th and has a run in of philosophy with Hawkeye and BJ I think it was BJ , and he s written off as a bloodthirsty exploiter of warfare.As a take on Hemingway, I think M A S H was pretty unfair, but it has made me seriously consider both in the past and again last night what Hemingway saw in war that made it such an important part of his writing And I think we see much of what motivates Hemingway in Night Before Battle Hemingway is interested, above all things, on what motivates people s emotions, and there are fewpowerful settings for overwhelming emotion than war And since war is an experience that Hemingway was familiar with at first hand he was a genuine hero in the First World War, after all , it makes sense that Hemingway would focus on war and its aftermath as the background upon which to set his examinations of human emotion.In Night Before Battle, Hemingway is dealing most poignantly with the emotions of Al Wagner, the Tank Commander who s convinced he will die the next day in an attack that he knows should not be made Al moves from feeling wet, sure that he will die and genuinely afraid of what s to come, to an acceptance of his fate But all around Al swirls a cast of wounded people making their way the best they can while fighting what most of them know is a lost cause We get glimpses of the emotional lives of a number of people the divisive Comrade in the bar, Manolita, a Spanish girl flirting with the English newspaperman, Baldy, the drunken pilot, and Henry the filmmaker None are as thoroughly drawn as Wagner, but they re all dealing with their own emotional despairs in whatever way they can.For a man who so many people imagine as the very symbol of American masculinity, Hemingway s stories reveal a sensitivity to emotions and understanding of pain that is unparalleled by his peers He just happens to use war as the touchstone for his examination of emotion, and it is difficult for me, in the face of a story like Night Before Battle, to see his work as a glorification of war.Hemingway didn t love war, he just happened to know it What Hemingway loved was how people responded to the horrors of war, soif anythinghe s glorifying the human spirit in times of adversity So, I didn t read the Complete short stories of Hemingway I wanted an introduction, I d always thought of Hemingway as..well, I d never really given him much thought He was just someone I wasn t interested in reading Lord help me, I can be dense I ve read about a dozen of the stories in this anthology I asked my husband for his opinion on which ones I should start with and I think that I ve read a fair sampling, I ll probably continue to pick this up every now and then and throw another on So, I didn t read the Complete short stories of Hemingway I wanted an introduction, I d always thought of Hemingway as..well, I d never really given him much thought He was just someone I wasn t interested in reading Lord help me, I can be dense I ve read about a dozen of the stories in this anthology I asked my husband for his opinion on which ones I should start with and I think that I ve read a fair sampling, I ll probably continue to pick this up every now and then and throw another one down Some of these stories are what I expected of Hemingway When I think of him, I see a large man, with a gun and a cigar and hell bent on killing something I see wilderness and war, I see the old sea captain and the disillusioned writer in the euro caf And sometimes I see my grandfather but that just might be the Gary Cooper influence I was expecting the hunting, fishing, wilderness angle and The Big Two Hearted River Part I II delivered with a yawn The morality of The Good Lion and The Faithful Bull was fine and dandy and the cleverness of Homage to Switzerland wasn t lacking These stories didn t give me that jaw dropping, must read everything effect that I so often hope for, but they were well written and entertaining Mostly, they were short and bearable Now the ones that I can truly say blew my Havana lovin , Zelda hatin , Hemingway image apart wereA Day s Wait, a quick 4 page story about a child thinking he is about to die and how he prepares for this I was impressed with the emotion that was so quickly and brilliantly emoted I remember when I was about six or so, I swallowed a penny and thought I was going to die It s not a good feeling, people I remember standing over my parent s bed trying to prep them for this I totally relate to Schatz.And the acerbic tone in The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber, The Seeing Eyed Dog, Hills like White Elephants, and The Snows of Kilamanjaro were awesome I ve always been down with the cynical, the mean spiritedness, and this somewhat frightens me that I m so attracted to it, because I m really trying to be a better person Hell if I can t enjoy some of the nastiness My favorite of the bunch is the first story that I was told to read.A Clean, Well Lighted Place I m sure many of you goodreaders are already aware of this gem, but I have to say even late to the game, I was just stunned by it So short and so poignant So beautiful It makes me want to take on a sugar daddy so I can sit in European caf s mumbling nada y pues nada y nada y pues nada I m such a girl In a way, it s almost an injustice to read these stories straight through, from cover to cover Each story offers a unique experience in transforming words into imagery in a way that is unique to Hemingway To simply read one story and then continue on to the next without time for reflection deprives the reader of some Top Chefcaliber, food for thought Even now, my initial reading of this collection comes back to haunt me, from time to time, with ah ha moments. Review of short story Cat in the Rain , which record Goodreads has merged with the complete short stories don t ask me why I m not sure why this story affects me so muchthan anything else by Hemingway I ve read There isn t much to it just a brief conversation that is barely any conversation at all, a passing encounter with a hotel owner and a maid, a stray cat out in the rain And yet there is also a world of loneliness and displacement and isolation there, never explicit but ble Review of short story Cat in the Rain , which record Goodreads has merged with the complete short stories don t ask me why I m not sure why this story affects me so muchthan anything else by Hemingway I ve read There isn t much to it just a brief conversation that is barely any conversation at all, a passing encounter with a hotel owner and a maid, a stray cat out in the rain And yet there is also a world of loneliness and displacement and isolation there, never explicit but bleeding between the lines so heavily that one can taste it As always with Hemingway, the impact of the story lies in the accumulation of little details The unnamed American Girl doesn t know any other guests she and her husband are the only Americans and presumably the only English speakers being abroad has taught me how isolating that is, even if one speaks the local language Add to that displacement the fact that she expresses great fondness for a near stranger, the elderly hotel owner, but all interactions with her young husband are they on their honeymoon are decidedly cold their marriage in a nutshell right there There is something about that image of the poor little kitty, out in the rain, trying to stay dry, which somehow sums up all that loneliness and near despair, and it sthan she can handle,than I can handle Wanting to bring that cat in out of the rain quickly moves beyond an act of pity and, perhaps, boredom as that lost cat becomes a symbol of everything the American girl desperately desires I want to pull my hair back tight and smooth and make a big knot at the back that I can feel, she said I want to have a kitty to sit on my lap and purr when I stroke her And I want to eat at a table with my own silver and I want candles And I want it to be spring and I want to brush my hair out in front of a mirror and I want a kitty and I want some new clothes Oh, shut up and get something to read, George said He was reading again I ve seen this outburst interpreted as an expression of American materialism, but I don t think that s it at all She doesn t really just want silverware and candles and clothes these are the trappings of the quiet, old fashioned domesticity that she has done away with when she cut her hair short and went to Italy, but that now seems a haven To wear her hair in a heavy bun the way her mother and grandmother did, to have a house of her own to rule over and something small and warm to cuddle this is to have an established Place, a sense of belonging somewhere To be deprived of all this and be stuck in a strange place with a husband who doesn t hear her is bad enough to lose the cat, who would bring some small comfort, on top of it all just seems cruelly unfair I want a cat I want a cat now If I can t have long hair or any fun, I can have a cat It is beautiful that the story ends with the maid bringing in the tortoise shell cat, before we see how either of the Americans react, because it leaves the question dangling does having a cat actually make the sadness go away When I first read this story in college, during a peculiarly lonely time for me, it was like a lightning bolt through my soul Because I GET what the American Wife is feeling I want to go and get that kitty out of the rain and bring it inside and feel it purr when I stroke it and somehow, it seems, that will make everything all better THE ONLY COMPLETE COLLECTION BY THE NOBEL PRIZE WINNING AUTHOR In this definitive collection of Ernest Hemingway s short stories, readers will delight in the author s most beloved classics such asThe Snows of Kilimanjaro, Hills Like White Elephants,andA Clean, Well Lighted Place,and will discover seven new tales published for the first time in this collection For Hemingway fans The Complete Short Stories is an invaluable treasury Away from Romance and Walter Scott through Twain to Ernest Hemingway, who was is a main influence on the generation of writers trying to escape or outdo him Harsh, brutal, accurate, stylistically pure to himself Sometimes pleasant to read and sometimes unbearable I think his style, sometimes so simple, at those times emphasizes the horror of humans as perpetual children, seeing war and corruption. As I begin this immense work, I feel as Philippe Petit must have felt as he began the high wire walk between the Twin Towers on August 7, 1974 I know I can do it but it surely is a long way But, as has been said many times, The longest journey begins with a single step So I begin I am not a bull fighting kind of person Watching a bull tortured and killed for the pleasure of the crowd is not my idea of a good time In Our Time is an early story that includes bullfighting and bullfighters As I begin this immense work, I feel as Philippe Petit must have felt as he began the high wire walk between the Twin Towers on August 7, 1974 I know I can do it but it surely is a long way But, as has been said many times, The longest journey begins with a single step So I begin I am not a bull fighting kind of person Watching a bull tortured and killed for the pleasure of the crowd is not my idea of a good time In Our Time is an early story that includes bullfighting and bullfighters If I am going to read much Hemingway, maybe I will have to learn something about men fighting bulls.It is hard to admit it, but I do not remember ever reading any Hemingway in my 65 years To run through the well known titles of some of his stories makes it evenamazing or distressing So to begin reading Hemingway with his Collected Stories might seem odd My rationale is that I enjoy short stories and it seems one way to take Hemingway a little bit at a time But I understand that there is a lot packed into even the shortest of his stories Sports play a role in many Hemingway stories bullfighting, fishing, skiing, steeplechase, boxing, bicycle racing, big game hunting He usually hasto say about the participants than the sport itself However, in the short story Undefeated written in 1925 26 there are twenty five pages of bloody bullfighting You can watch some bullfighting on YouTube, but I don t recommend it Hemingway s description of bullfighting here is just as unsettling to me as the video On the other hand, his descriptions of the people associated with bullfighting are interesting to me It is a negative factor to me that the author Hemingway has a love of bullfighting and that he presents it as something noble I would say the same thing about his love of big game hunting Gross.When Hemingway saw his first bullfight in Pamplona in 1923, he brought his wife Hadley along because he hoped the event would have a positive influence on the unborn son she then carried The sport certainly affected the budding writer It became one of the reigning passions of his life Source In 1932 Hemingway s Death in the Afternoon , a non fiction book about bullfighting, was published Bullfighting is also prominently featured in The Sun Also Rises.This is not to say that I object to writers dealing with things I find abhorrent Or even the graphic description of those things But I do get to decide what I read It is easy to decide to skip bullfighting.Speaking of abhorrent, Hemingway has another topic that he loves war A Natural History of the Dead is an eight page short story that is somewhere between humor and horror It is Jonathan Swift An interesting aspect of war, too, is that it is only there that the naturalist has an opportunity to observe the dead of mules In twenty years of observation in civil life I had never seen a dead mule and had begun to entertain doubts as to whether these animals were really mortal This is just the tip of the iceberg, a phrase that those who know Hemingway are wont to send in his direction He must have gotten very tired of this.When you read the short story The Gambler, the Nun, and the Radio, you are confronted withHemingway humor It is a story about a Mexican who is shot and in a hospital Doesn t sound funny to you One morning the doctor wanted to show Mr Frazer two pheasants that were out there in the snow, and pulling the bed toward the window, the reading light fell off the iron bedstead and hit Mr Frazer on the head This does not sound so funny now but it was very funny then Like Hemingway said, It was very funny then You might find yourself laughing out loud N.B The radio has seven tubes in it Does anyone remember when radios had tubes So there it is humor and nostalgia It makes me smile just to think about it The Snows of Kilimanjaro was first published in 1936 in Esquire magazine I have known this title seemingly my entire life without knowing the story Now I have finally read it It is the story of a man on safari in Africa who is slowly dying from gangrene of a leg He spars with death and with his wife, recalling events of his life and feeling that he has not managed to live his life as he intended The Spanish Civil War was from July 1936 through March 1939 The Hemingway short stories that involved this war The Denunciation 1938The Butterfly and the Tank 1938Night before Battle 1939Under the Ridge 1939The war in a nutshell The socialists clearly won an election in 1936 to govern Spain The right wing Nationalists attempted to overthrow the elected government and was successful in taking over some cities where the government Civil Guard was not strong Mussolini and Hitler aided the Nationalists the Soviet Union supported the Republican government militia International Brigades fought on the side of the Republicans France provided some support, the British none The Republican army was defeated in their strongholds of Barcelona, Catalonia, Valencia and Madrid by the end of March 1939 The right wing Nationalists had won and the Franco rein began Although some of the topics bullfighting, boxing, big game hunting in this book were not to my liking, the writing shines through almost everywhere I thought I would read some of the stories in The Collected Stories but now that I think about it I am not sure how I would have decided which stories to read But it will be easier to go back one day and reread the ones I need to spendtime with The Strange Country would have to be at the top of that list But, then, theI think about it, I could spendtime with any one of Hemingway s short stories And then there are always the many books about Hemingway Muchabout the author at I give The Collected Stories four stars Many individual stories would rate five stars and none would be lower than three The lower ratings aredue to the topics rather than the writing I have to admit to being somewhat star struck by this most famous author whom I have never managed to read before this I read this from cover to cover on a beach in Aruba, which was just weird, because somebody dies every ten pages or so It wasn t really in keeping with the carefree beach vibe we were going for But you really can t deny Hemingway I realize the man was a terrible husband and father, that his writing suffered in the end and that he didn t have the most highly evolved views of gender But despite all that, in his prime, he wrote dozens of truly great stories.At the small Midwestern evangelical l I read this from cover to cover on a beach in Aruba, which was just weird, because somebody dies every ten pages or so It wasn t really in keeping with the carefree beach vibe we were going for But you really can t deny Hemingway I realize the man was a terrible husband and father, that his writing suffered in the end and that he didn t have the most highly evolved views of gender But despite all that, in his prime, he wrote dozens of truly great stories.At the small Midwestern evangelical liberal arts college that I attended, there was a lit professor who made the statement that Hemingway couldn t write emotion We were reading A Farewell to Arms, and the majority of students in the class mostly young women who were aspiring elementary school teachers agreed with her I spent class after class defending Hemingway to these heartless women, who read A Farewell to Arms as some sort of failed romance novel After reading through his short stories, I haven t changed my opinion Hemingway writes emotion beautifully His restraint makes it possible for him to convey the emotions of characters who for one reason or another don t demonstrate their emotions in obvious ways, much like huge segments of the human population Not everybody breaks down and cries like a girl as soon as something goes wrong I do, but not everybody


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