Monday, 6 September 2021

Utter bliss

 What a beautiful day - pure sunlight and everyone sitting around in their gardens soaking up the sun.  We usually get a few days like this at this time of year and it is good for the soul.

It was a Book Group this morning.   I don't know how my American readers view ErnestHemingway but after watching several programmes on him when it was time for me to choose the book (this morning)  I chose A Farewell to Arms, mainly because I had never read any of his work. 

We were more or less unanimous in our feelings on the book.   We thought it was good in parts, especially the retreat, his escape and the story of his flight into Milan and then the Couples' rowing across the border into Switzerland.   But we none of us felt that he was the best American writer since Mark Twain and that all writers since him were influenced by his work.   I would be interested in hearing what any of my American readers have to say about his work.   So please, if you have a view let me know what it is. 

My gardeners came this morning just in time to stop the dandelions completely take over the back patio.   In the last fortnight they have really invaded like there was no tomorrow.   Now, looking out of the window, the patio is clear - wonderful. 

Back again tomorrow when hopefully I shall have a little more time.


 

37 comments:

bornfreev said...

Regarding Ernest Hemingway - I'm American and he was required reading in my high school literature class. I am STILL mystified why he is revered as a master of word craft! He obviously had friends in high literary places. They all must have been drinking when they read his stories. From what I've read, he was very likely drinking when he wrote them!

Derek Faulkner said...

Same weather down here Pat, nice to see you appreciating it.
I've never read any Hemingway so can't comment on his books.

Carol said...

United Statesian here with Hemingway comments. I think it may have been Kenneth Patchen who said of Hemingway something like, "Writes as I suppose a bull would--big chest and spindly legs." His style was different, and much imitated because, I think, of the shock value of it. In my opinion, formed with help from my degree in comparative literature, Hemingway was important to the development of US literature in the twentieth century because he was willing to take risks in his writing, but I don't put him in the class of "great."

CharlotteP said...

A truly beautiful day. Unfortunately, had to stay in this afternoon, as I'm having some new kitchen units fitted. It seems to be the way with some tradesmen, that if the client is a single woman, they think they can ignore what has been agreed - if it's easier for them! Grrrr!

The Weaver of Grass said...

Carol'.
thank you very much indeed for your comments - very helpful. I listened to a series of programmes about him in which one well known US writer said he was 'the greatest writer since Mark Twain

bornfreev Thank you so much - another view on him and not altogether favourable.

Debby said...

Hemingway was, in my opinion, a blustery sort of 'man's man' author. That type of personality does not appeal to me, personally, and so his books don't fall into the 'great' category in my mind. Others like that boldness very much. The one that I thought was very good for capturing a story was John Steinbeck. I do love Mark Twain though. That's the wonderful thing about books. There is something for every taste!

The Feminine Energy said...

I am American and I don't believe I have ever read Ernest Hemingway. Perhaps I was forced to do so in high school or something but that's too long ago for me to remember. So I will take your word regarding his work. Don't you wonder who or what decided that dandelions are undesireable? I think they're beautiful... such beautiful yellow flowers and they grow so easily. I rather like them. ~Andrea xoxoxo

Unknown said...

Another American here. I agree with Debby, that Hemingway was a "man's man" writer. I had to read a couple of his books in college, I don't recall which it was so long ago, but I do recall I couldn't finish either of them. Bluster and pomp. Celie

Lynn Marie said...

Hemingway's roller coaster personal life and hard-driving lifestyle tend to be intertwined with his writing which was certainly influential in the 20th century. I think he was one of the first American writers to reject the more florid, "fancy" style of the 19th century; after Mark Twain, of course, with Twain's down-to-earth Huck Finn and Jim. Hemingway's sparse language and understatement was quite radical in the twenties and thirties, and that may be harder to realize now when anything goes. "The Old Man and the Sea" is a perennial high school assignment. Personally, I find Hemingway easier to hack than Faulkner, who's also often assigned to older high schoolers or college kids, and considered extremely important in American literature, but even more oblique to me.

Jules said...

I've been battling the dandelions myself this last week. I think I am finally winning. X

Heather said...

We have a beautiful day here too, albeit rather sticky. It started with a lovely September misty morning and at 6.30am my double-glazed windows were steamed up. Blue skies all day until this evening when it looked as if we might have more mist in the morning.
I have to confess I have never read any of Hemingway's books - may be I should have.
Dandelions are beautiful but not in a small garden!

Sol said...

I have read Hemmingway's The Sun Also Rises and A Moveable Feast. Neither I will read again. There is something about the pattern of his sentences that drives me up the wall. I forced myself to finish as they were 'book club books'. We have since agreed no more Hemmingway

Rachel Phillips said...

I'm totally confused.

The Weaver of Grass said...

Sorry about that Rachel - I just wish I had thought to put this post on before this morning's Book Group meeting - it would have helped the discussion on nicely.

Thanks to all my US readers for giving me your views.

Joanne Noragon said...

Good old Hemmingway. Lovely discussion. I hope book club went as well.

Susan said...

Hemmingway experimented with prose and stepped outside the norm. This made him notable. I am not a big fan of his literature. Ragweed season is with us now so anyone with allergies is impacted.

Bonnie said...

As an American, I will say Ernest Hemingway has never been a favorite author of mine. I do admire his willingness to take chances with his writing. I also think he was an interesting, although a sad person. He suffered from depression and alcoholism and eventually killed himself at the age of 61. His home in Key West, Florida is now a museum and still provides a home for at least fifty polydactyl cats many of which are ancestors of the many cats he owned and loved.

Cro Magnon said...

I loved The Old Man and the Sea. It's short, a good story, and is well written.

angryparsnip said...

I read Hemingway in High School, The Old Man and The Sea. At the time I read read this book I was not impressed I am sure the writing was good but I was not interested. Today it would mean more I am sure. I understand why we had to read it but it just drags on and on especially to a High School student.

We also read the Red Badge of Courage by Stephen Crane, another American Classic. It is a war novel taking place during the Civil War. I have visited the were The Battle of Chancellorsville took place and one can not wrap the mind around 24,000 casualties

Hemingway's writing was based on a man man's lust of life the sweeping life. Cranes book was a smaller story of a young boy who wanted excitement and found cowardice and then courage.

Librarian said...

Neither American nor a Hemingway reader, I can not comment on that part of your post. But the weather - it was another beautiful, beautiful day here, and after having sat at my desk working until 5:00 pm, I was glad to get out for a nice long walk before dinner.
Dandelions are beautiful; their flowers provide pollen for many insects, and their leaves make a nice salad, similar to rucola.

Derek Faulkner said...

Librarian got it dead right, dandelions have too many positives for them to be pulled out of the garden. Often plants classed as weeds are just as lovely as similar ones in flower catalogues that we are happy to replace them with.

Sue in Suffolk said...

I've not read any of his books and won't be bothering to try!

Anne Brew said...

Dandelions and Hemingway and diverse opinions on both; another interesting post from you!

The Weaver of Grass said...

Bonnie I didn't know that about the cats.

Thanks for your responses to Hemingway - don't think I shall read any more but I am pleased I read the two I have now read.


Thanks for calling by.

Leilani Schuck Weatherington said...

I have read a number of Hemingway's novels, but the one I remember most is the Old Man and the Sea. We read a Hemingway novel for American Literature in college but I can't remember which one it was. The professor talked about when he was in college they would read one of Hemingway's novels and they would drink alcohol every time the characters in the novel drank alcohol and had a marvelous time getting drunk. I am not interested in reading Hemingway now.

Anonymous said...

Another American here. I've read several of Hemingway's books and mostly think he is overrated. However, I did enjoy "Islands in the Stream" and his short stories are his best work. "The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber" is stellar. Renee

SpartanF3nc3r said...

American born in the late 80s. I really enjoy Hemingway, but thought the Nick Adams stories, Africa stories and nonfiction works, were superior to his novels. For me his writing style is best in short bursts, but grates in long form. Hard for me to say if he's over-rated, but I think part of his popularity in school stems from how easy it is to excerpt his books and still have digestible portions.

A Smaller Life said...

I've never read any of Hemmingway's work and I don't really think I've ever been enticed by it, but sometimes it's good to read a book you ordinarily wouldn't isn't it ... I'm still not tempted though!!

Isn't it lovely having the sunshine back for a couple of days, it was feeling VERY Autumnal last week.

Tim B. Inman said...

I'm an American, and a Hemmingway reader - long ago. I feel he was an accomplished manager of words, but not the best story teller. John Steinbeck is much much better. If you haven't, try his Travels with Charlie. Mark Twain is the best story teller for me. Hemmingway's stuff was always about he and his ego; the others subvert their personalities to the benefit of the story they are telling. To each his/her own though! Cheers

Derek Faulkner said...

We were out at Mottisham, a National Trust place in Hampshire today, where it was 29 degrees, so nice to be able to be out in shorts and light shirts.

Kippy said...

U.S. citizen here. I have read a few books by Hemingway, no desire to read them again. Mainly they made me feel something was lacking and a bit depressed.. John Steinbeck is a favorite author. Grapes of Wrath was incredibly touching. I’ve read Travels with Charley at least twice. His way of describing the people and environment he (and Charley the poodle) encounter when traveling across the U.S. in a little trailer is incredible.

Anonymous said...

I'm one of your American readers. I did not like Hemingway's books. I did enjoy Steinbeck.
Rose

The Weaver of Grass said...

Kippy - I love Travels with Charley - one of my favourite books


Thanks so much for your marvellous response.

Granny Sue said...

I have never been a fan of Hemingway's work. Or of the man himself. I think he was egotistical and a seeker of fame.

That said, it was kinda cool to see his house, and to have a drink at his favorite bar in Key West. I do love Key West, such a bohemian, uninhibited place.

Crafty Green Poet said...

I've not read a huge amount of Hemingway, but I've always admired his concise use of language. And I've always been intrigued by his cats, which, if I remember correctly, had opposable thumbs.

Jean Jennings said...

EH was/is vastly overrated.

Donna said...

I am an American. I read Old Man and Teh Sea and thought it was great. I do intend to read more of his books but haven't yet. We visited his house and favorite bar in Key West. We also saw the tribute to him in Pamplona. He certainly had an interesting life.