Discovering the joy and sadness of Hemingway

Like many people who love to read, I have a backlog of ‘classic’ books that are on my must-read list, which I hope to get through ‘one of these days’. While this list has never been formally recorded on paper, I tend to be reminded of it from time to time when life nudges me in the ribs. And then I’ll find myself at the bookstore or searching online for whatever book title it is which the universe has called to mind. It was in such a way that I remembered Hemingway.

Some time ago I was reading a book which featured quotations on life, love and travel. Amongst those passages quoted was one from Hemingway’s famed book, A Farewell To Arms. I was struck by the passion of his prose and the intensity of feeling he was able to capture within so few words…the man makes writing seem deceivingly simple and so very human, so very real.

I sensed that from the way he speaks with the written word, that here is a writer in the true sense of the word, one that has truly lived and not just imagined.

‘I’ve always been afraid of the rain.’
‘I like it.’
‘I like to walk in it, but it’s very hard on loving.’
‘I’ll love you always.’
‘I’ll love you in the rain and in the snow and in the hail and – what else is there?’

With a book voucher in hand that I had been saving up for ‘just the right book’, I figured that A Farewell to Arms was just that book. It did not disappoint. It is a book which takes you on a complete journey of life experiences – those we hope to know well such as friendship and love, and those experiences we’d rather avoid like war, grief and death.

‘Oh darling, I want you so much I want to be you too.’
‘You are. We’re the same one.’
‘I know it. At night we are.’
‘The nights are grand.’

If you haven’t already read it, this is one book that you should definitely consider adding to your own ‘must-read’ list of books. It is full of gritty texture, is completely absorbing and one of the most moving books which have graced the bookshelves.


  1. christine

    Thanks for the reminder on this classic. I read it in college, and loved it, but I need to read it again as a writer, to soak up all the richness of it.

    Great review!

    christine’s last blog post..Poetry in Atlanta

  2. Paul

    A wonderful book and so eloquently and passionately described.

    Paul’s last blog post..ungainly entrance

  3. Tracey

    Hi Christine – I don’t recall doing much study of classic novels at school, so I feel like I’m constantly playing catch up on so many great books. Hemingway was such a wonderful discovery.

  4. Tracey

    Hi Paul – Mmmm…How did I know that you’d be a Hemingway fan? 8)

  5. jan

    A Farewell to Arms is one of the few books I’ve read twice, once in high school and once as an adult. It worked for me at both times.

    The movie was really terrible.

    jan’s last blog post..Interview with Laurie aka Andrew’s mom from “Greatest American Dog”

  6. Pamela

    I love Hemingway’s A Moveable Feast! It’s one of my favorites. And you are so right, going back to read, or re-read, the classics is so rewarding. I re-read The Great Gatsby this summer and just loved it. Knowing the story so well, this time I just got lost in the language.

  7. Tracey

    Hi Jan – I was wondering what the movie was like. I almost picked it up while browsing for other movies the other day. Based on your judgement, perhaps I’ll just rent it rather than buy it.

  8. Tracey

    Hi Pamela – Well reading A Farewell To Arms has certainly opened up my eyes to Hemingway. I’m inspired to read some more of his work now.

    You mentioned re-reading The Great Gatsby…That is one of my all time favourite books!! I think I must have read it about three times or so, and still find some new layer to explore and love each time.

  9. Kimberly Spencer

    That was a wonderful read, thanks for sharing. 🙂

    Kimberly Spencer’s last blog post..Welcome to Blog!

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