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.
I've tried two of his audiobooks now and could not get through either one. I'm not exactly sure why his writing style disagrees with me so badly, but it does. Maybe it is the fact that he feels the need to have show his character's first and last name each time the address each other....
This is my first Hemingway book (read or listened to) and I can definitely say I will be back. It took me away to another world with real people and real humanity. I was so sorry to come to the end.
Campbell Scott's narration was impressive in its variety for the different characters and the consistency. I want to hear more of his books.
The story grabbed me from the beginning and held me the whole way through. I could not wait to listen again.
Classics, history, historical fiction, marketing, Napoleonic stuff and of course 'Boys own Adventure'. This is my bent. Occasional self help as well.
A classic indeed. Lovely to listen to, and an epic story that leaves you feeling like you have lived the book. I loved it. Will listen to it again soon.
I have found Hemmingway to be rather dark and depressing. While not giving away the ending, this one is not far afield. But the richness of the story makes up for it. I was also impressed with the richness of the Spanish language here, and the reader enhanced the affect. Hemmingway did a great job of getting into the individual's heads. Excellent experience.
Someone who has not had exposure to international accents and cultures.
I couldn't finish it to say.
1. Saul Reichlin2. Christopher Lane3. me
The only reason I can believe it was Simon & Schuster audio that produced it is that it was done in 2006, before audiobooks really took off due to smartphones. True performers are now hired, not hacks. Mr. Scott may be a talented man, but he is not a talented reader in this particular instance. His accents are truly atrocious. A Russian sounds like a Spaniard who sounds like a first generation immigrant from Jersey. Thank the Lord that Mr. Hemingway is dead and didn't have to listen to this butchery or the bells may have tolled for Mr. Scott, who is probably a very nice man.
I was very surpirsed that this book seems to be considered the ultimate achievement for Hemingway by the "experts." His digressions into a character's background did not further develop each character for me, it was just another delay in getting to the conclusion. The main story here is very simple and straightforward with no surprises. It appeared to me that he took a high quality short story and stretched it into a novel and in the process converted a possibly shorter, great book into a longer, good one. I think I'm done with Hemingway, Farewell to Arms was much better than this one because the underlying story was deeper.
I finished this book about a month ago, and in writing this "from memory", I'm getting some interesting insight into this whole phenomenon of storytelling.
I think the most noticeable thing is now "tight" the story is, words are not wasted in creating a vibrant picture of both what's going on, and the undercurrents beneath it.
I'd call this a love story.
And a war story.
And a human story.
Good stuff. I suppose that's why writers often cite Hemingway as an example of a master of the craft of writing.