I stumbled across this piece on my laptop whilst looking for something else I’d written on Hemingway. This piece was written on 7th December 2015, and is published here unchanged.
Hemingway’s Fiesta: The Sun Also Rises means a lot to me, even though I’ve only read it once, back in 2009 (or thereabouts). When I wasn’t having the greatest time at uni and found myself getting the train home – in fact, the next town along – the book was a comfort, as I read about young, drunk writers on a sojourn in Spain, wondering how my own trip to visit an uncle in Madrid would compare.
In The Sun Also Rises, the main character Jake declares his love to socialite Bret Ashley. The passage always stuck with me. As did a passage on love as an argument between a man and wife in the novella To Have and To Have Not. That story about rumrunners in the Florida Keys wasn’t as good as I’d expected Hemingway to be. The frequent use of “nigger” made me feel uncomfortable.
In my first year of Creative Writing we read ‘Hills Like White Elephants’. I loved the simple setting, the emphasis on drinks. Upon reflection, more than one scene – in fact, any in which characters are sat at a bar – in Graham Greene’s Our Man in Havana, reminded me of this short story. Perhaps that’s why I delighted in it. The first work of Hemingway’s I read, though, was The Old Man and the Sea – in Orlando, Florida, no less. The small Arrow copy fell apart in the heat; the glue on the spine melted. Again, I’ve only read it once but vow to again. I will.
NB: This year, 2016, I re-read Fiesta: The Sun Also Rises.