Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Review of A Farewell To Arms


A Farewell to Arms
Ernest Hemingway
332 pages
I know what you’re saying, I said it too. Why with so many wonderful contemporary authors do I want to go back and read this out dated novel. Well my in-person book club decided for me that’s what I was going to do. And I am so glad I did.

First published in 1929 when Hemingway was 30 A Farewell to Arms is viewed through the eyes of an American serving in the Italian army during the WW1, his love of one woman and his eventual life on the run. We today are used to the prose like, flowing dialogue of contemporary authors, so I was at first un-prepared for Hemingway’s staccato, and very pragmatic verse, he puts us on the front lines with the soldiers and shows us how life away from the front was spent. He tells us of medical procedures of the time, procedures that we view as expectant as an aspirin, but in his day were life saving and sometimes life taking techniques. He takes us on an unequaled journey from the Mountains to the small villages and finally to the cities of Italy and ends our voyage in a small village in Switzerland. He takes us behind enemy lines and in the trenches of allies and he does it with an amazing proficiency. His characters are unforgettable in their portrayals from his protagonist Frederic and his love interest Catherine to his comrades in arms. His love story is poignant and heartwarming and tragic and yet beautiful in it’s telling. He was truly a masterful narrator.
So come back to the classic tale of love found and love lost, of war and desertion and of human frailty. Come back and see why this tale has survived a number of reprints and almost a century in time. Come back and make Papa proud. Come back and read the one and only A Farewell to Arms.

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