I have long been a Hemingway fan but have not been through all his writings. If you have any doubt that Hemingway was a literary giant you need only listen to this title. Between listens I would find myself thinking about the characters. The thread of their lives, and their very souls, were exposed brilliantly. I finished the listen days ago and still find myself thinking about it. I feel like I was there, with them, in the mountains, dedicated to the cause. In a sense, I'm still there, heart pressed to the pine needles on the forest floor along side Robert Jordan. In this book, at least, Hemingway was that good. Give it a try; I think you'll like this one.
Wow .. what an astoundingly good book. I had no idea the writing would be so accessible, and at the same time so profound. It is truly a rare thing! I’m left cursing myself for not having read Hemingway years ago. Spend a few minutes refreshing the basics of the Spanish Civil War before jumping in .. then enjoy the ride. Look forward especially to the lengthy description of the smell of death ….it’s a master class in descriptive prose.
I have read a number of reviews of this book and found them OK. This was one of the first books of this type that I have listened to. It turns out to my surprise, to be my favorite. I have listened may times now and I have a fairly long commute to and from work. I like the description of the people, era, story. I'm not a literary person to dissect the text. It's just a great story, Just let it unfold, it's worth the time... The narrator is great, he's not mundane or mono-tone, he does a great job on the characters.
Having read some of the previous reviews about censorship, and the editing out of curse words in this audio version, I felt that I should add a quick note on Hemingway's use of language in this novel. To give a sort of Spanish feel to the language, he writes a good portion of his dialogue a though it were directly translated from Spanish. So, "What passes with you?" can bear some getting used to. Also, he uses "thou" and "thy" at times in place of "you" to represent the moving between formal (usted) and informal (tu) Spanish. But, the big kicker (the one that seems to be making listeners upset) is the way he handles cursing. I believe that lines like, "I obscenity in the milk of thy tiredness," and "Where the un-nameable is this vileness I am to guard" are causing people to think that the audiobook has been censored in some way. It hasn't. Although, I'm not entirely clear on why Hemingway decided edit his English curse words in this way (strangely, the ones in Spanish are left intact), they are part of his original text; I checked my paper-bound version to be sure.
So, I hope you don't let reviews warning of censorship (or my technical review here) scare you away from a truly wonderful, thought provoking novel. You should read one of the reviews discussing the horror of war, love in the face of death, excitement of battle, camaraderie of soldiers, and think about buying (or not) the audiobook in those terms.
One of the better books
Great writing, fascinating characters and a wonderful story
Very much likes Scott's narration. Understated with exactly the right tone for the story.
The story made me contemplative, rather than laugh or cry.
It seems an abomination that the language has been sanitised. I assume that was done to meet a certain rating, but it seems like a poor decision to say the least. It's 2012, and we're still butchering books?If you can get past that, a thoroughly recommended listen and one I will surely listen to again.
"For Whom the Bell Tolls," is arguably, one of the best novels of American 20th Century literature. Personally, I like Hemingways "Old Man and the Sea," perhaps a little bit better, but "For Whom the Bell Tolls" is certainly a richer, broader and more in-depth story. Hemingway, of course, is up there with the great luminaries of American literature. Today, there is simply no American writer alive who comes close to him or his contemporaries. The auditory rendition of this novel is quite good and clear. A very minor point, but not enough to really detract, is that at a few points the timing on the spoken narration is slightly out of synch as the characters change. But, it's really quite minor. As for listening to this novel, it is just a superb experience. It is so nice to hear the English language used the way Hemingway does, he is like a Zen master of the English language. In-depth, detailed characters are developed but with such expertise that the character never seems to be over-shadowed by the role. Hemingway is also a rare writer who knows how to speak to men, he understands what drives them and no matter how complicated the character, the inevitable faults and humanity still shine thru. So, if you want to take a break from Podcasts, Global Warming, Spy Novels and Political Thrillers, here is your perfect chance. You will not regret it.
Editing out the rough language from this book was annoying and unnecessary. I don't even undertand how it was legal!
Selling me this edited audiobook without first telling me that somebody had "cleaned up" Hemingway's lively and realistic language was also unfair to me, your customer.
The book is great and Hemingway's descriptions of the landscape and people make you feel as if you are there, but the dubbing over of the curse words was rediculous. It takes away from the force of what some of the characters are trying to express. Really not needed. Just note that it has explicit language. This is how censorship begins.
I had not read Hemingway at all except for Old Man and the Sea.
What I liked about For Whom the Bell Tolls is that it communicated intensely what life was like in the Spanish Civil War. Who needs a history book? You know it won't tell the tale. The remarkable thing about Hemingway is that he describes the whole war in the book. If you wanted numbers, dates and the politics of the war, one more book, or Wikipedia, would do that for you. Otherwise, this books tells the story of partisan warfare; it puts you right there. It tells about war, the soldiers on both sides.
I am amazed at Hemingway's clarity of perception at the use of simple language to evoke scenes and character.
I love the use of languge in this book! And the reader was terrific.