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Death in the Afternoon Paperback – April 16, 1996
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Top Customer Reviews
I wanted to read this book in English because I would like to know the english vocabulary of the fiesta and how the fiesta was in 1931 that my father used to tell me, after finishing it I have to say that this is absolutely the best book about bullfighting I have ever read so far!.
It is awesome how this american could achieve so vaste knowledge about this matter.
I love the enthusiastic way he describes all the aspects of the fiesta,the bullfighters and their different technics,everything is here, even the two roads which existed in the age to get from Madrid to Seville.
I like very much the comparision he does at the beggining of the book between wine and bullfighting.
I thought I knew a lot about our national party but after reading this book I realised I was partially wrong.
And what to say about the way Hemingway writes... It is absolutely phantastic, pure magic and amazing...
My advice is if after reading this book you want to assist to a corrida do the possible to go with an aficionado you will enjoy the triple!!.
I read this book while I was in Spain, but I did not see a fight until I had finished. Going to a bullfight without knowledge or someone to guide me would have been overwhelming. But seeing the details Hemingway descibes come to life made it that much more exciting.
For those who object to bullfighting you have that right. But don't object without knowing the how's or why's of what goes on. The most eye-opening thing you will see at a fight is the crowd getting upset at a fighter who takes liberties with a bull. Hemingway descibes in detail the purpose for every action taken in the ring, which gives clearity to what looks like cruelty.
And finally, Hemingway gives advice on writing no writer should ignore. "When you write, don't write characters...write people." If you are a writer, whether interested in bullfighting or not, you should read this book for the invaluable advice of a master.
I can hardly think of a better way to spend an afternoon than hanging out with Papa Hemingway.
At the time, bullfighting would have probably seemed foreign to most American readers. But Hemingway notes the handfull of Americans and other expatriates who took part in the corrida. He laments the modernization of the sport in which the art of killing seemed to be lost. He provides an excellent description of the disciplines of bullfighting, the way in which it plays out like a three-act tragedy for the bull.
The time frame is ca. 1930 but it doesn't seem the sport has changed much since then. It is one of the many traditions in Spain that has survived the upheavels of the 20th century. The Socialists tried to eradicate it but failed. Bullfighting takes on a metaphysical aspect in some of the matadors and bulls he describes. It is wonderful reading and a great introduction to the subject.
This is a great book to read on a flight to Spain, particularly if you plan to see a bullfight. With your newly-minted expertise in bullfighting, you'll apreciate the pageant much more.
But Death in the afternoon is not just about bullfighting. Hemingway discusses such topics as death, often death, war, writing, art (a comparison of the painters Goya, Velasquez and El Greco), love and Faulkner. This book is more than a guide to bullfighting -- it is good literature.
He also decries the fact that the emphasis is less and less on the killing as opposed to pageantry and hot-dogging [read Mitchener's "Mexico"]. There is some truth in this but, even back in 1930, Madrid was becoming a tourist mecca and, to a certain extent, the matadors were and are playing to unsophisticated audiences. On the other hand, my experience in less touristy areas has been the opposite. The kill, although not the total point of the fight, is definitely the most important part. Pity the poor matador who has a perfect fight only to have his sword, at the "moment of truth", glance off a rib. He won't get two ears and a tail. He'll be lucky if he gets one ear.
I think Hemingway should have more emphasized that the corrida is NOT a sport. It is a tragedy which appeals to the Spanish [and some non-Spanish]mind. It is not meant to be "fair" in the Anglo-Saxon sense of the word. A brave beast rages courageously only to be bloodied, broken and killed. The matador, on his part, needs to be just as brave. If you don't think so, just try to face an enraged 1500 lb beast with a cape and a flimsy sword. To go to a bullfight hoping the matador will be knocked down and gored, would be like going to a ballet and hoping the prima ballerina fall on her face.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
If you want to learn about the soul of bullfighting, this is the book. Hemingway is self-indulgent in this book, too often praising his own literary skills, but I doubt anyone... Read morePublished 2 months ago by Mark E Taussig
This is a fictional work that is actually much more rewarding as a comprehensive explanation of bullfighting. I read it again every year before I attend the bullfights. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Federico_pvr
Verbose and over-written. This work by Hemingway was a disappointment in several ways, not the least of which it was that it was a rambling dissertation that seemed to be... Read morePublished 3 months ago by Bruce Smalling
Everyone knows that Hemingway was a "bullfighting aficionado" - well that seems to be the phrase that is most often written. Read morePublished 4 months ago by Skeptic
Incomparable book about fighting bulls and those who fight them in the glorious and ancient tragedy of the ring. On the side it tells us a good deal about writing, too. Read morePublished 5 months ago by Andrew M. Klein
Boring!!! This is the Hemingway portrayed in Woody Allen's Midnight in Paris. It's really only worth 0-1 star but since it is Hemingway I was generous.Published 9 months ago by Richard M. Poley
Hemingway offers his unique ability of description without metaphor that brings a dead/ dying sport back to life. Read morePublished 11 months ago by Levi Knox