Reading 1001 – June 2022 Round-Up
This months winners and losers…
A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway – Tackle the TBR – What GR says: A Farewell to Arms is the unforgettable story of an American ambulance driver on the Italian front and his passion for a beautiful English nurse. Set against the looming horrors of the battlefield – the weary, demoralized men marching in the rain during the German attack on Caporetto; the profound struggle between loyalty and desertion—this gripping, semiautobiographical work captures the harsh realities of war and the pain of lovers caught in its inexorable sweep. Ernest Hemingway famously said that he rewrote his ending to A Farewell to Arms thirty-nine times to get the words right. My edition contains all the rewrites and yes some only change the odd word or 2 that is dedication.
My Thoughts: Hemingway is a very sparse writer any un-necessary words are carefully and clinically parsed away until you are left with a powerful story told in as few words as possible.
I didn’t particularly like any of the characters and the way the story is told kept this reader emotionally distanced from the story but it still managed to give even me a kick in the teeth with that ending.
3 Stars – Read this to see how a professional gets rid of un-necessary words while maintaining a cohesive narrative and then take a moment to appreciate the genius.
At Swim Two Birds by Flann O’Brien – BOTM#1 – What GR says: A wildly comic send-up of Irish literature and culture, At Swim-Two-Birds is the story of a young, lazy, and frequently drunk Irish college student who lives with his curmudgeonly uncle in Dublin. When not in bed (where he seems to spend most of his time) or reading he is composing a mischief-filled novel about Dermot Trellis, a second-rate author whose characters ultimately rebel against him and seek vengeance. From drugging him as he sleeps to dropping the ceiling on his head, these figures of Irish myth make Trellis pay dearly for his bad writing.
Hilariously funny and inventive, At Swim-Two-Birds has influenced generations of writers, opening up new possibilities for what can be done in fiction. It is a true masterpiece of Irish literature. Definitely some laughs to be had here
My Thoughts: This book is totally banana pants we have characters from all kinds of stories escaping from their confines and encountering each other and a fictional author, in the meantime we also have our narrator who intervenes at certain points with his observations on the real world around him.
Very funny at points this does book will mess with your head as you try to maintain who is who and where they should be.
3 stars – A short fun read but don’t expect to understand it fully.
Have you read any of these? Let us know what you thought of them.
To be honest, I can’t stand Hemingway. Except for his beautiful A Moveable Feast