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In Our Time Paperback – January 31, 1996
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In his first commercially published book (following the small-press appearance of Three Stories and Ten Poems in 1924), Hemingway was still wearing his influences on his sleeve. The vignettes between each story smack of Gertrude Stein, whose minimalist punctuation and clodhopping rhythms he was happy to borrow. "My Old Man" sounds like Huck Finn on the Grand Tour: "Well, we went to live at Maisons-Lafitte, where just about everybody lives except the gang at Chantilly, with a Mrs. Meyers that runs a boarding house. Maisons is about the swellest place to live I've ever seen in all my life." But in the "The Battler" or "Indian Camp" or "Big Two-Hearted River," Hemingway finds his own voice, shunning the least hint of rhetorical inflation and sticking to just the facts, ma'am. His reluctance to traffic in high-flown abstraction has often been chalked up to postwar disillusion--as though he were too much of a simpleton to make deliberate stylistic decisions. Still, nobody can read "Soldier's Home" without drawing a certain connection between the two. Returning home to Oklahoma, the hero finds that his tales of combat are now a bankrupt genre:
Even his lies were not sensational at the pool room. His acquaintances, who had heard detailed accounts of German women found chained to machine guns in the Argonne forest and who could not comprehend, or were barred by their patriotism from interest in, any German machine gunners who were not chained, were not thrilled by his stories.If we are to believe Michael Reynolds and Ann Douglas, this passage reflects the author's own dreary homecoming as a member of the lost generation. It's also a fine example of a surprisingly rare phenomenon, at least at this point in his career: Hemingway being funny. --James Marcus
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Top Customer Reviews
Sometimes his genuis is almost eerie--read "Soldier's Home," and try to analyse how such basic words and sentences can weave such a poignant, aching emotional web. His work had an almost magical presence in those early years, before egotism and the media made him self-conscious.
Even if you are familiar with his more celebrated novels, read this collection and you will be overwhelmed by the beauty, power, and honesty of Hemingway at his best.
Hemingway is a writer prized for his economic writing style, and he doesn't get more economical than here. The stories in this collection sometimes run just two or three pages, and are broken up by even briefer story nuggets that read like brushwork haikus.
Included are three of Hemingway's most celebrated shorts, "Soldier's Home," "Indian Camp," and "Big Two-Hearted River," but while these and a couple of others ("The Battler" "My Old Man") are gripping enough read alone, they really come alive here in tandem with "In Our Time's" other stories and anecdotes. The mood of "In Our Time" seems more important than any message, and is certainly easier to discern.
First published in 1925, "In Our Time" expresses a world-weariness typical of the generation that came home from the First World War, "The War To End All Wars," to find their glorious dreams and beliefs shattered. Cynicism was a newer thing in Hemingway's time, and harder for his generation to digest. Presenting himself in slightly fictionalized form as one Nick Adams, Hemingway looks backward to moments of nausea in his youth, bitter breakups and parental failures, before dealing with how the war itself left him shattered. Sometimes the lens of the book moves to characters other than Nick, but it never leaves aside that spirit of disillusion and loss.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I'd read the stories contained in Ernest Hemingway's book In Our Time a number of times in the past, whether excerpted in anthologies or contained in his own complete short story... Read morePublished 16 days ago by Bob R Bogle
There's nobody like Hemingway. Unfortunately. I read him and Somerset Maugham over and over. And if you want to know an intelligent point of view on life, art, religion, etc. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Maugham
I am a Hemingway fan and I don't care what all those snooty college professors say. I also enjoy clean, crisp, clear language. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Warren W. Wiley
I think this posthumous Hemingway reminiscence is a must for anyone interested in Hemingway's early life in Paris. It captures his relationship with Gertrude Stein and F. Read morePublished 2 months ago by EWMeachkins
I like Hemmingway’s writing style. These short stories took the reader into war, rivers, apartments and woods, along with many other sites. Read morePublished 4 months ago by Randy Tramp