Book Review: The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway


Synopsis from  Goodreads:

The quintessential novel of the Lost Generation, The Sun Also Rises is one of Ernest Hemingway’s masterpieces and a classic example of his spare but powerful writing style. A poignant look at the disillusionment and angst of the post-World War I generation, the novel introduces two of Hemingway’s most unforgettable characters: Jake Barnes and Lady Brett Ashley. The story follows the flamboyant Brett and the hapless Jake as they journey from the wild nightlife of 1920s Paris to the brutal bullfighting rings of Spain with a motley group of expatriates. It is an age of moral bankruptcy, spiritual dissolution, unrealized love, and vanishing illusions.

My mini-review:

“Going to another country doesn’t make any difference. I’ve tried all that. You can’t get away from yourself by moving from one place to another. There’s nothing to that.”

This is by far one of my favourites by Hemingway.

I understand that the detailed narration and repetition may put off some readers, but that’s the best thing about it. It’s the best thing about all of Hemingway’s books. The writing is detached and pragmatic and almost always aimless. Maybe you want to scream: “Tell me something I don’t know, Hemingway!”, but that’s the beauty of it all. He’s telling us what we already know, about the world, about life, about us.

★★★★★ (5 stars) for the unsavory aftertaste of being in love.

Dear Ernest, we could have had such a damned good time together. At least, isn’t it pretty to think so?

Book Review: The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway

Synopsis from Goodreads:

It is the story of an old Cuban fisherman and his supreme ordeal: a relentless, agonizing battle with a giant marlin far out in the Gulf Stream. Using the simple, powerful language of a fable, Hemingway takes the timeless themes of courage in the face of defeat and personal triumph won from loss and transforms them into a magnificent twentieth-century classic.

My review:

“Most people were heartless about turtles because a turtle’s heart will beat for hours after it has been cut up and butchered. But the old man thought, I have such a heart too.”

“It is good that we do not have to try to kill the sun or the moon or the stars. It is enough to live on the sea and kill our true brothers.”

I had to let this one sink in (pun not intended) before I could review it.

I love Hemingway. He has a distinct voice. I do understand though why some people were incredibly bored by this story. I was genuinely torn between giving this either 0 or 5 stars. Zero because, let’s face it, I didn’t quite take anything away from the story. Five, because the narration is impeccable. I thought I was the Old Man at one point.

I’ve settled on ★★★ (3 stars) because this book was a shallow pool in the endless sea of Hemingway’s talent.

Book Review: The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger

Synopsis from Goodreads:

Since his debut in 1951 as The Catcher in the Rye, Holden Caulfield has been synonymous with “cynical adolescent.” Holden narrates the story of a couple of days in his sixteen-year-old life, just after he’s been expelled from prep school, in a slang that sounds edgy even today and keeps this novel on banned book lists. His constant wry observations about what he encounters, from teachers to phonies (the two of course are not mutually exclusive) capture the essence of the eternal teenage experience of alienation.

My mini-review:

“What really knocks me out is a book that, when you’re all done reading it, you wish the author that wrote it was a terrific friend of yours and you could call him up on the phone whenever you felt like it. That doesn’t happen much, though.”

The majority of this book was read while I was waiting around in airports, so my expression remained rather stoic (in an attempt to go unnoticed by other passengers) except for the few times I couldn’t quite suppress my laughter and it slipped out like a chuckle or a cough. I didn’t much like how people were staring at me while I was reading. I am a bit paranoid though. Anyways, the point I wanted to make is that I felt rather involved yet withdrawn while reading this book, and then for some reason, after reading the last page and putting the book down, I felt my eyes stinging and I didn’t know what to do with myself.

★★★★★ (5 stars) because I’m not really sure what is so great about this book but it was something I needed to read. I do wish that the author was a terrific friend of mine.