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A Farewell to Arms: The Hemingway Library Edition Paperback – July 8, 2014
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As a youth of 18, Ernest Hemingway was eager to fight in the Great War. Poor vision kept him out of the army, so he joined the ambulance corps instead and was sent to France. Then he transferred to Italy where he became the first American wounded in that country during World War I. Hemingway came out of the European battlefields with a medal for valor and a wealth of experience that he would, 10 years later, spin into literary gold with A Farewell to Arms. This is the story of Lieutenant Henry, an American, and Catherine Barkley, a British nurse. The two meet in Italy, and almost immediately Hemingway sets up the central tension of the novel: the tenuous nature of love in a time of war. During their first encounter, Catherine tells Henry about her fiancé of eight years who had been killed the year before in the Somme. Explaining why she hadn't married him, she says she was afraid marriage would be bad for him, then admits:
I wanted to do something for him. You see, I didn't care about the other thing and he could have had it all. He could have had anything he wanted if I would have known. I would have married him or anything. I know all about it now. But then he wanted to go to war and I didn't know.The two begin an affair, with Henry quite convinced that he "did not love Catherine Barkley nor had any idea of loving her. This was a game, like bridge, in which you said things instead of playing cards." Soon enough, however, the game turns serious for both of them and ultimately Henry ends up deserting to be with Catherine.
Hemingway was not known for either unbridled optimism or happy endings, and A Farewell to Arms, like his other novels (For Whom the Bell Tolls, The Sun Also Rises, and To Have and Have Not), offers neither. What it does provide is an unblinking portrayal of men and women behaving with grace under pressure, both physical and psychological, and somehow finding the courage to go on in the face of certain loss. --Alix Wilber --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Library Journal
These dual Hemingways are the latest volumes in the Scribner Paperback Fiction series (Classic Returns, February 15, p. 187). They offer quality trade size editions, featuring attractive covers and easily readable type size. Two of the greats.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
As for the novel itself, I enjoyed it. It is more about the characters than any deep story but the plot twists move you along at a decent pace. I had read about Hemmingway’s “ice berg” style, which is very interesting, but what really appealed to me is how this ebbed and flowed without the drastic actions found in many of our current day novels. As a writer I know that that isn’t an easy thing to do. I also know that today’s writers often focus on the story while Hemmingway’s characters become real, you know them well by the end of the book.
I’m not saying that the current crop of writers are bad, Hemmingway is just different and different from the old “classic” authors in that this is not a series of scenes which may or may not be related. He strips out side stories and keeps you moving though you are not sure to where.
I highly recommend you read this, especially if you are a writer and even if you have read Hemmingway before without satisfaction. This is a very good read.
I'm far from a Hemingway aficionado, but i would recommend the Sun Also Rises and the Old Man and the Sea before this novel. I think it was worth the read and the last sixty pages were like the last round of a boxing match in which a K.O on either side is inevitable. His prose is tight, as advertised, if only Hemingway could sustain his genius for the whole length of this book. Unfortunately, he fails in this aspect. He excels in the short story because it seems Hemingway runs into trouble with the longer novels that need to be hunkered down with on both the reader and authors side.
Fredric Henry an American in Italy serves as a Lieutenant with the Italian army. He meets English nurse Catherine Barkley, of course, they fall in love. It is World War I, 1918 and American armed forces have not yet entered Europe. The story is set on the Italian-Austrian front…the war is not going well.
In chapter 41 (pg. 280) near the end of the novel, Fredrik Henry describes the condition of ants on a log he once threw into a fire. In essence he says, no matter which way they went, there was no reward. A metaphor for life as ‘Tenente’ Henry sees it (as Ernest Hemingway saw it?)…injustice.
The novel is a pleasure to read in; pace, style, length, and story, though Hemingway’s ‘intimate’ dialogue between Henry and Barkley can be saccharine and tedious on some pages (maybe only for this reader?) unexpected for an author of Hemingway’s well-cultivated ‘macho’ reputation.