Thursday, May 30, 2013

A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway


Farewell to War, Baby (Military Week)

A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway is a classic war novel. This book is loosely based on Hemingway’s own experience.  Set in WWI, American Frederic Henry is an ambulance driver in the Italian Army. At one point, his buddy Rinaldi, introduces him to Catherine Barkley, an English nurse’s aide.  She’s on the rebound from the death of her fiancĂ© and she’s a bit of a basket case.  One second she’s slapping Frederic when he leans forward to kiss her, the next minute she’s offering him a kiss.  He takes her up on the offer, and their lips barely part before she’s talking about their future life together. Glenn Close in Fatal Attraction comes to mind.  It’s almost spooky, but he plays along until he has to leave for duty. After receiving a nasty war wound to the knee, Frederic is sent to a hospital in Milan where he encounters Catherine again.  He falls in love with her during his recuperation time and Catherine becomes pregnant. Unfortunately, after a few months Frederic must return to his unit, and they are once again separated.  Of course, now he’d rather be with Catherine, especially when the Italians started executing officers involved in an unfortunate retreat.  That is when Frederic says “farewell” and escapes in a river.  He soon says “hello” to his Catherine as they meet again.  Life is good.  But before all is said and done, Frederic must say two more “farewells.”

I liked the book, but wasn't wholeheartedly enthralled with the writing; it seemed a tad stilted, at times terse and choppy.  Rinaldi also irritated me.  He constantly threw the word “baby” into his conversations. “How are you, baby?”  “Good-by, baby.” “Take your pants off, baby.” Shave his head and stick a lollipop in his mouth and you have Telly Savalas saying “Who loves ya, baby?” in the 1970's detective drama Kojak.  I couldn't wipe that image out of my head.

My husband thoroughly enjoyed this book.  He not only liked the descriptive war scenes, but surprisingly, he also liked the love story—more than I did

Like so many classics, this book is available free online.  Visit http://archive.org/details/farewelltoarms01hemi


There’s only us two and in the world there’s all the rest of them.”

Ernest Hemingway,  A Farewell to Arms  (New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1929; reprint, New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1957), 134.



“Nothing ever happens to the brave.”
“They die of course.”
“But only once.”

Ernest Hemingway,  A Farewell to Arms  (New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1929; reprint, New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1957), 134.



"God knows I had not wanted to fall in love with her. I had not wanted to fall in love with any one. But God knows I had…" 

Ernest Hemingway,  A Farewell to Arms  (New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1929; reprint, New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1957), 90.


Happy Reading,

Annette

What did you think of this book? Post a comment or email: Readinginthegarden@gmail.com

No comments:

Post a Comment