On completion, all I will add to that written below is that I adored the ending. This IS my favorite book by Hemingway. Hemingway has illuminated friendship and love in a beautiful and also honest manner. Note, this is a love story, a wonderful love story that rings true. Nothing false here. If other authors could write love stories like this, romance would be my favorite genre.
Although fiction, the book is in fact written about real people and real events, and it has an autobiographical basis. Check out Wiki when you have completed the book; no peaking before! I found Jake very attractive. I will include just one quote from Wiki: "In the novel, Hemingway presents his notion that the "Lost Generation", considered to have been decadent, dissolute and irretrievably damaged by World War I, was resilient and strong." When you finish the book you have glimpsed French and Spanish life in the 20s. You feel you have yourself vacationed in both France and Spain. Need a vacation? Read this book. I absolutely loved it.
I am nearing the end, and I am absolutely loving this. Yes, even the bullfighting fiesta. It goes on for seven days - rockets and dancing and music and crowds. And yes of course drinking. To remove that would be absurd! Me,I am the one to faint in a crowd and have done so at a 4th of July parade, so this fiesta should not be my kind of thing, but here, in this book, you see why it is so loved by the Spanish people. You, the reader, are part of their festivities and understand and f-e-e-l their excitement. Back away two steps and your inhibitions rise up, but while reading Hemingway's lines you are there in the middle, and it is glorious and frightful all rolled together. Hemingway shows the horrors of it too, so the reader gets a rounded view. Not all Spaniards love bullfighting, even back then in the twenties.
And a word about how antisemitism is portrayed. Yes, one of the characters is a Jew, and yes he is disliked, but really it is not for his religious beliefs. It has nothing to do with that. This book is about friends and all the currents that lie underneath a friendship - jealously, competition, disgust, petty annoyances, sharing, camaraderie and caring. Be honest, friendship is NOT so simple. Much of the antisemitism is pure bluster.
William Hurt does a marvelous job with the narration, but it is not perfect. Tut, tut, tut, what do you mean, William? Shame on you! Not every line is perfect! (For clarity - I AM being sarcastic.) The French and American voices are perfect. I mean perfect! Dialogs between different friends succeed in that you know exactly who is speaking. Even if a female voice or the Scottish and German dialects could be improved, you still easily know who is who! And the pacing and strength of the lines describing scenery, the mountains, the fields, the color of the sky are wonderful too. Perfect narration? No. Good? Yes! And this book is not easy to narrate.
I have just begun, but I am sucking up the atmosphere of Paris in the 20s. All are plastered - that is, some Americans and French and Italians and Greeks. I am listening to a narration by the w-o-n-d-e-r-f-u-l William Hurt. There is no way I could imagine the lines spoken with all these different accents as well as Hurt narrates them. Sooo perfect, particularly the French and American, the others accents give an amusing contrast! The mood of that time and place, Paris and expatriates and booze and bars, 1924, is delightfully portrayed. I don't mind the macho lines at all. They make me laugh and giggle. Sooooooo Hemingway!!!! Good stuff.
And I am not a boozer, but this I enjoy. You can live vicariously through books ...... without yourself having a hangover the next day!
Please let my enjoyment continue.
I know this book contains misogyny, homophobia, and some antisemitism too, but a good author can handle difficult themes well. Oh yeah, yucky bullfighting too. We will see how I feel at the end.
I think this will be my favorite book by Hemingway!
I guess you had to be there, but I don't understand all the hoopla about Hemingway. Found the book rather boring - like Lady Brett - bored. Some say this is his best novel, but I don't see it. Not sure I liked Hurt as narrator - although he sounded bored like Jake and all the others.
Yes, hope I see the fascination.
William Hurt is awful. He's asleep and puts me to sleep. He sounds a little creepy, whiney, bored, and is just not a good or exciting reader.
Though I enjoyed the performance, I still don't understand what Hemingway wanted to convey in this novel other than that the main characters are a lost generation in Europe. This you can gather from the first quote in the novel and you don't need to listen to the whole thing. It really felt to me that Hemingway is showing off his knowledge of various places in Europe without any substance. But who am I to critique Hemingway :)
No, for William Hurt. While I am a big fan of William hurt as a fine actor, his voice had a definite drone without much inflection which made the listen very boring.
While I enjoyed
Hurt seemed bored himself.
I will never read another book narrated by William Hurt.
It was apathetic ... a humdrum waste of my time. I cant feel for these characters, they are privileged enough to bum around Paris and Spain like hamsters in a wheel; going nowhere, doing nothing, not even having meaningful conversation. It's like listening to a bunch of your go-nowhere college buddies talk about everyday life. Boring.
Stacy Keach, hands-down. He is the best I have heard yet and I have listened to more audiobooks this year than most people will listen to in their entire lives. Not to be conceited but to make the point. Stacy is awesome, especially with Hemingway. He ACTS out the roles, instead of merely reading the words.
This guy, William Hurt, is the worst yet. He even reads like he is bored, adding an additional dimension of apathy to the story that didn't need to be there. Hemingway can write about normalcy in a way that lets you see the beauty. This guy killed even that.
I had just finished For Whom the Bell Tolls, and was very pleased. The book was lauded as one of his best works, so I gave it a go. I think this book got caught up in the
Don't waste your time or money on this one. Go get The Nick Adams Stories or his other short stories first. They are so poetic and ... honest is the best way I can explain how he writes. No fluff, no waste, each word is a well chosen arrow that pierces straight to the point, unmistakably.
One cannot change a novel that is a classic in its way. The reading would be improved by a more vigorous interpretation of the narrator (Hemmingway).
The bittersweet ending
I'm a 60 yr old former English major and grad student. It's been fascinating revisiting the books I studied in my 20s, read aloud to me.
I got interested in Hemingway and have listened to all three of his best-known novels on Audible this summer. I appreciate his direct, unadorned language and was especially fascinated by his use of strange translations for Spanish words and expressions in For Whom the Bell Tolls. I thought that novel was excellent, and very sad. I absolutely could not stand The Sun Also Rises. How can this be said to be his best work?? First of all, William Hurt is the worst narrator I have yet heard on Audible--and I've listened to two of Charlton Griffin's readings (sounds exactly like J. Peterman of Seinfeld fame). Hurt sounds brain damaged in his presentation of The Sun Also Rises. He ends every sentence on an upward intonation, like a drunken Canadian, and spits out the first syllable of every word like he's choking. Where did he learn to speak this way? He also adopted a whining, cringing tone for Robert Cohn and Jake's friend Bill that is most annoying. His reading was least objectionable when he was mimicking foreign accents for Mike, Brett, and various Spanish peasants and waiters. Maybe he should have read the whole novel in a foreign accent; it would have been less distracting and ridiculous than his version of spoken English, which is presumably his native tongue. If you can steel yourself to somehow make it past the narrator's incomprehensible delivery, you are then faced with a so-called novel in which nothing--and I mean nothing--happens apart from wildly excessive drinking, enumerated glass by glass and bottle by bottle in scene after scene in two countries, along with what was paid for the drinks and tips for the waiters. The drunken men become drunkenly jealous of one another; everyone hates the Jew, Cohn, and lets him know it, so he fights them and then cries. Jake has had his penis shot off in WWI so he is especially jealous of the other men who have slept with Brett, but he acts cool and unconcerned, but one night he cries about it. This book is absurd.
An absurd, sparingly told story of a bunch of drunks and a tramp. This novel is broken up into 3 "books" - you can completely throw out the 1st about the "wild nightlife" of Paris. There was nothing interesting at all in the telling, no insight into the characters, no captivating plot, nothing....but drinking. I wish I had a digital copy of the book and could count the times "get a drink" was used - it would be in the hundreds, and without anything engaging told in between.
I did not have any empathy for the main characters, and did not sense any "spiritual dissolution, unrealized love, and vanishing illusions." If these were themes, maybe I needed a drink to ferret them out. I thought these "woe-is-me” motifs were modern day creations. I cannot believe that this novel is considered a masterpiece. The only interesting characters were the supporting cast, particularly the Spanish hotel owner and the bullfighter. It is inconceivable to believe nowadays or moreover in the 1920's, that a reader would feel anything for any of the four main figures (except the bullfighter) who were all in love with the same tramp, Lady Brett Ashley, who was "accustomed to getting what she wants" - there was nothing the least bit interesting about her. A lousy listen - save your money on this book and go buy yourself a drink instead - you'll certainly have more fun.