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Men Without Women Paperback – February 21, 1997
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Pierced by the Sun
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Hemingway offers us an assortment of masculine characters, mostly picked from his favorite types of male personas: soldiers, bullfighters, mobsters and prizefighters. Despite the title of the book, there are a smattering of female characters in some of the tales. They rank with the standard fare of impetuous women that Hemingway likes to write about.
The scope of the stories is quite broad, featuring painful topics such as abortion, breakup, heartbreak and being past ones prime. The latter theme is taken up in THE UNDEFEATED, THE KILLERS and FIFTY GRAND and later on re-appears in Hemingway's THE OLD MAN AND THE SEA. FIFTY GRAND, which details the demise of a washed-up boxer, is my favorite short story in this collection.
Stories such as IN ANOTHER COUNTRY, and NOW I LAY ME introduce motifs that are echoed in A FAREWELL TO ARMS, which was published just a few years after MWW.
Tho I've never been enamoured with the short story genre, Hemingway does rank as one of the best in the business - particularly in the American literary canon. Hence, followers of Hemingway as well as people who greatly enjoy short stories would likely appreciate this book.
Nick Adams makes an appearance in "Ten Indians" and gets his heart broken when he finds out his Indian girlfriend has betrayed him. In "The Undefeated" we are in the bull ring with three matadors - 2 young and 1 that is past his prime. I cried here too at the beauty of the matadors dance, but my heart was heavy as the bull loses his life. "Banal Story" is Hemingway's tribute to the great Maera. I believe these sketches, as Hemingway called his short stories, are fleshed out more in THE SUN ALSO RISES and DEATH IN THE AFTERNOON.
Crime visits a diner in "The Killers." The dialogue of the two Chicago hit men was amusing in a very dark way and may have given the great writer the idea to write TO HAVE AND HAVE NOT. Hemingway treats us to a story devoted to one of his favorite pastimes in "Fifty Grand." A pugilist has decided he's done and bets against himself in a big fight and I loved the story. "In Another Country" and "Now I Lay Me" are shadows of what we will read in A FAREWELL TO ARMS.
I vowed then never to read anymore Hemingway ever in my life because I was a foolish child and made such ultimatums.
Naturally, 8 years later, I decided to give this guy who was supposed to be the greatest American writer another chance.
I don't know if I had just matured that much in those eight years or if this story just captures me that much more, but I couldn't put this down. The first three pages took me some time; I was distracted; I wasn't used to the style - that level of bones bare is not something I've elsewhere seen... that I can remember.
But by God, after that I couldn't get enough. His style is beautiful and the stories enthralling. Each page, each line, each word, holds a labyrinth of meaning beneath the surface. The untold words are the ones that seem to have the greatest weight. The action is an intense as you let it be. He really leaves the story up to you.
While many writers these days would spend paragraphs describing a washed-up boxer in the midst of a deep internal struggle, drinking a bottle of brandy because it's the only way he can take everything off his mind and finally, finally get some rest. How he guzzles down the liquor with reckless abandon. But Hemingway mentions it once then merely hints at it while focusing on the part of the story that you can't make up on your own.
And that's just one, glaringly obvious, instance in a book rife with them.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
The stories enfolded so easily and I could see each drama unfold in front of me. The dialogue was natural.Published 17 hours ago by Lucy Buencamino
Hemingway at his best. Was scared when I first opened the book to see that it has Chinese printed on it. But everything is in EnglishPublished 1 month ago by Amazon Customer
One of the greatest American writers. I love reading his short stories when I need to take a break from longer novels.Published 7 months ago by Paul
I got the new hard cover version which is pressed in China. It is made by a Chinese publisher for readers in, I guess, China but the text is in original English. Read morePublished 7 months ago by hj7405
Wonderful collection of short stories. If you do not love Hemingway's books yet, this will make you join the clan.Published 7 months ago by Beranga
This is an epic fantasy novel, with characters having various interesting mystical powers. The story takes place at Theia’s Moon Esaki and it is about Malkia, who is the leader of... Read morePublished 9 months ago by Amazon Customer
Men Without Women is still a great title but the stories in this volume are uneven. Hemingway's Italians and Spaniards have no depth. They are soldiers and bull fighters. Read morePublished 10 months ago by Roberta