I've listened to the story twice (have read it maybe a half dozen times over the years), and each time I get a bit more from it. Sometimes it is insight into the era, sometimes the characters, sometimes for its lessons on how to write. As time goes by and my perspective changes, so do the characters.
The story is more a collection of character studies--to me--then about any of the particular events related. Hemingway's ability to paint a detailed setting and then overlay the character's dialogue so that the two are utterly separate yet equally interesting makes the work worth the reread. That said, I find most of his work to most remind me of the Seinfeld series: stories about nothing, and everything.
Hurt's performance put me off at the start. Too staccato, I thought, and found it annoying. The various characters, though, were clearly defined by either accent or style, and I never once had to wonder who was speaking. Eventually, I accepted the staccato voice of the protagonist not as a shortcoming on Hurt's part, but rather, as the personality of the character.
Just like the antisemitism in the Merchant of Venice, and the racism in TKa Mockingbird, the oft-recurring thread of Jew-hatred in this story is hard to take, and listening to it evokes a stronger reaction than just reading the words on a page.
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