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Afrikan vihreät kunnaat kuvaa kuukauden mittaista metsästysretkeä Tansaniaan ja Keniaan. Mukana safarilla ovat Hemingway itse, hänen vaimonsa, Karl-niminen mies, kaksi safarinohjaajaa sekä joukko paikallisia kantajina ja oppaina. Maisema vaihtuu, metsästäjät saalistavat, ja seurue keskustelee ympäröivästä luonnosta, maailmankirjallisuudesta, sarvikuonojen ja puhveleiden sa Afrikan vihreät kunnaat kuvaa kuukauden mittaista metsästysretkeä Tansaniaan ja Keniaan. Mukana safarilla ovat Hemingway itse, hänen vaimonsa, Karl-niminen mies, kaksi safarinohjaajaa sekä joukko paikallisia kantajina ja oppaina. Maisema vaihtuu, metsästäjät saalistavat, ja seurue keskustelee ympäröivästä luonnosta, maailmankirjallisuudesta, sarvikuonojen ja puhveleiden saalistamisesta sekä kaikesta inhimillisestä maan ja taivaan välillä. Dialogi on elävää, ja tarinan kerronta imee lukijan mukaansa. Vaikka tunnelma on päällisin puolin iloinen ja rento, leppeä pinnan alla uivat elämän suuret kysymykset: ahneus ja kateus, onni ja epäonni sekä sota ja rauha.


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Afrikan vihreät kunnaat kuvaa kuukauden mittaista metsästysretkeä Tansaniaan ja Keniaan. Mukana safarilla ovat Hemingway itse, hänen vaimonsa, Karl-niminen mies, kaksi safarinohjaajaa sekä joukko paikallisia kantajina ja oppaina. Maisema vaihtuu, metsästäjät saalistavat, ja seurue keskustelee ympäröivästä luonnosta, maailmankirjallisuudesta, sarvikuonojen ja puhveleiden sa Afrikan vihreät kunnaat kuvaa kuukauden mittaista metsästysretkeä Tansaniaan ja Keniaan. Mukana safarilla ovat Hemingway itse, hänen vaimonsa, Karl-niminen mies, kaksi safarinohjaajaa sekä joukko paikallisia kantajina ja oppaina. Maisema vaihtuu, metsästäjät saalistavat, ja seurue keskustelee ympäröivästä luonnosta, maailmankirjallisuudesta, sarvikuonojen ja puhveleiden saalistamisesta sekä kaikesta inhimillisestä maan ja taivaan välillä. Dialogi on elävää, ja tarinan kerronta imee lukijan mukaansa. Vaikka tunnelma on päällisin puolin iloinen ja rento, leppeä pinnan alla uivat elämän suuret kysymykset: ahneus ja kateus, onni ja epäonni sekä sota ja rauha.

30 review for Afrikan vihreät kunnaat

  1. 4 out of 5

    Jason Koivu

    The machismo is thick and pungent in Green Hills of Africa, Hemingway's autobiographical account of a hunting trip in Africa. At times it felt like the verbalization of this... It is one part self-glorifying portrayal of a man's man and one part vilification of the same man for the same reason. If alpha-dog Hemingway had lived into his 80s, he would've lived into the 1980s, and if he had I feel certain he would've been a contestant on American Gladiators. Afterwards he would've admitted he was ac The machismo is thick and pungent in Green Hills of Africa, Hemingway's autobiographical account of a hunting trip in Africa. At times it felt like the verbalization of this... It is one part self-glorifying portrayal of a man's man and one part vilification of the same man for the same reason. If alpha-dog Hemingway had lived into his 80s, he would've lived into the 1980s, and if he had I feel certain he would've been a contestant on American Gladiators. Afterwards he would've admitted he was acting like a damn fool. That's just how he was, ALL MAN! GRRR! But too introspective to believe his own bullshit. Aside from that, there are some interesting details on big game hunting, African tribesmen and guides, and the occasional difficulty or ease of language exchange. When not hunting, Hemingway talks books and writers with the few intellectuals he brought with him on the trip or came across along the way. We hear his opinion on the quality of the writer's of his day and just prior. Readers of A Movable Feast or those who know his personal history will catch the thinly veiled criticism of his once mentor Gertrude Stein. Green Hills of Africa has lyrical turns and can be engrossing, especially if you have read some of his previous work. An interest in hunting might help, too. But of all his output, I could not suggest reading this first as it is not "Hemingway," as in "Have you read Hemingway?" This is more like a supplement for his fans who want to learn more about the man and/or the myth.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Darwin8u

    Where a man feels at home, outside of where he's born, is where he's meant to go." - Ernest Hemingway Once, when I was 11 or 12, I begged my father to take me Mule deer hunting in Utah. Growing up in the West, among a certain strata of boy, the October deer hunt was a sort of blood ritual. We would take off from school for a couple days, go into the mountains with our fathers, shoot at things, and come home. At this time in my life, I had tremendous blood lust. I wanted to bring something down. To Where a man feels at home, outside of where he's born, is where he's meant to go." - Ernest Hemingway Once, when I was 11 or 12, I begged my father to take me Mule deer hunting in Utah. Growing up in the West, among a certain strata of boy, the October deer hunt was a sort of blood ritual. We would take off from school for a couple days, go into the mountains with our fathers, shoot at things, and come home. At this time in my life, I had tremendous blood lust. I wanted to bring something down. To be at the top of the pyramid for a second. To conquer something. I wasn't at the stage where I could explore where these impulses came from. The desire to carry and shoot. The desire to kill and show off my trophy. It really was a deep thing. I think as a child, I can best explain it as some way of coming to grips with the discovery that you are no longer the center of the Universe. You have recently discovered you aren't a god. So, you act like a god. You seek to become Shiva the destroyer, the killer of groundhogs, of robins, the boy who pulls the stinger out of bees in the window. Lucky for me, I discovered (much later in life) that my father, a veterinarian, used to steer me away from the deer. He was happy to hike, camp, and shoot with me. He understood better than I, the stage I was in. Perhaps, at 11 or 12, disappointment with not finding something to kill might serve me better than blood. Even now as I've grown, as I read Hemingway's 'Green Hills of Africa' and I feel all of those early impulses again. After finishing this story, I did a Google search to see how much a Safari in South Africa and Zimbabwe costs now days. I know this is absurd. It is one of those things I mock and despise among the rich. Photos of the Trump boys displaying their trophies or the owner of Jimmy Johns standing under an Elephant he has recently killed makes me both angry and sad at the same time. But I STILL, emotionally, deep down find myself thinking about Hemingway and Roosevelt. Thinking about the big tests, the pursuit, the hunt, the blood. It sickens and attracts. It is visceral. I really think C. G. Poore captured it perfectly when he said this story was "about people in unacknowledged conflict and about the pleasures of travel and the pleasures of drinking and war and peace and writing."

  3. 5 out of 5

    Luís

    As I read Ernest Hemingway not very long ago, I wanted to immerse myself again in his work. Strangely, I chose one of his African stories, "the green hills of Africa", in which he tells us about one of his hunting campaigns in Tanzania. We quickly find ourselves immersed in this extraordinary African atmosphere, between stifling heat, smiling Maasai, nonchalant guides and sublime landscapes... The problem is, it's not very exciting: kudu hunting, well we don't give a damn, especially when we are As I read Ernest Hemingway not very long ago, I wanted to immerse myself again in his work. Strangely, I chose one of his African stories, "the green hills of Africa", in which he tells us about one of his hunting campaigns in Tanzania. We quickly find ourselves immersed in this extraordinary African atmosphere, between stifling heat, smiling Maasai, nonchalant guides and sublime landscapes... The problem is, it's not very exciting: kudu hunting, well we don't give a damn, especially when we are on the 10th hunt, and we have been described for 3 pages the theatre of operations. Therefore, we should rather see this book as the testimony of a vanished world, where the territories could still be unexplored, and where the hunting of large animals was as natural as his shopping in the supermarket. It bothered me a little, this frantic race to kill the largest animal, and incidentally, impress his hunting comrades. Anyway, not my best Hemingway.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Chrissie

    This is non-fiction. It is about a big-game hunting safari taken by Ernest Hemingway and his second wife Pauline Marie Pfeiffer in December 1933. They traveled to East Africa. Aided by native trackers, they hunted buffalo, rhinoceros, kudu and sable antelope. These were the big attractions of the hunt. More important still was who of the hunters would achieve the biggest kill. In my eyes, the competition between the men was extremely childish, the hunt itself gruesome and revolting. The book is This is non-fiction. It is about a big-game hunting safari taken by Ernest Hemingway and his second wife Pauline Marie Pfeiffer in December 1933. They traveled to East Africa. Aided by native trackers, they hunted buffalo, rhinoceros, kudu and sable antelope. These were the big attractions of the hunt. More important still was who of the hunters would achieve the biggest kill. In my eyes, the competition between the men was extremely childish, the hunt itself gruesome and revolting. The book is composed of four parts: "Pursuit and Conversation", "Pursuit Remembered", "Pursuit and Failure", and "Pursuit as Happiness". In the first and second parts, Hemingway expresses his personal views on a number of American and European authors. He refers to Mark Twain, Stephen Crane, Sinclair Lewis, James Joyce, Rainer Maria Rilke, Leo Tolstoy, Gustave Flaubert and Fyodor Dostoevsky for example. He speaks of which of their works HE admires most, but there is not deep analysis of any of the writers. This did add a speck of interest, but I do not see why it is found here in this book on African hunting! The second part has a flashback to earlier hunting in the Rift Valley of Tanzania. The third part—look at its title: “Pursuit and Failure”. It is full of grumbling, complaining and whining. Men behaving as small boys. The fourth part gets a bit better. The “little boy”s became less sour when they manage to kill more animals. Hemingway waxes lyrical when with a possibility of success, he describes virgin forests and lands of pristine beauty. He has the eyes to see the nobility, the beauty and the intelligence of the Maasai people. Unfortunately then he reverts to the hunt, to the tracking of blood trails and gruesome slaughter and skinning of his prey…..and again his fixation on who got the biggest and the best kill. I am generous when I give this two stars; most of it I did not like at all. Parts not disgusting or childish were instead boring. This could have been so much better had Hemingway stopped pouting and observed with open eyes the landscape around him and its people. The audiobook is narrated by Josh Lucas. It was OK. At times, particularly in the beginning, he speaks so softly, mumbling, making it difficult to properly hear what is said. It does improve. I have no idea if the African words were properly pronounced, but clearly, he loved the swearing in Hemingway’s text. Hemingway speaks to us in the first person. The intonation used is not how I imagine Hemingway sounded. I usually enjoy Hemingway’s prose style, but there are only a few such lines here.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Ellen

    The subject of the pursuit is the elusive kudu, an animal you must hunt alone, like writers must write alone... In Hemingway’s experimental work, the Green Hills of Africa, he produces possibly one of the earliest works of creative nonfiction, reveals how the search for good land parallels a writer’s search for good material, and most of all, reveals himself—warts and all. * * * “Fitting in,” being recognized as an aficionado, or knowing how to be an insider (rather than a tourist) surfaces as a d The subject of the pursuit is the elusive kudu, an animal you must hunt alone, like writers must write alone... In Hemingway’s experimental work, the Green Hills of Africa, he produces possibly one of the earliest works of creative nonfiction, reveals how the search for good land parallels a writer’s search for good material, and most of all, reveals himself—warts and all. * * * “Fitting in,” being recognized as an aficionado, or knowing how to be an insider (rather than a tourist) surfaces as a dominant theme in Hemingway’s fiction and non-fiction. Hemingway prides himself on knowing how to handle his liquor, how to appreciate bullfighting, how to fish and hunt, and, most importantly, how to become accepted in any country he visits. Hemingway’s self-image, however, may be at odds with reality. In Africa, for example, the paid trackers that accompany Hemingway on his safari may or may not respect him. Further, whether Hemingway achieves insider status is moot since his view of Africa remains hopelessly distorted due to his position of privilege and his cultural baggage. In The Green Hills of Africa, Hemingway’s project to write an “absolutely true book” tends to deconstruct. Often, Hemingway achieves truth in ways he may not have intended and fails to achieve truth in ways he may not have foreseen. Throughout his book, Hemingway uses Africa: as a hunting resource, as an extended metaphor, and as material for his next book. Despite Hemingway’s goal to present an “absolutely true book,” his rearrangement of events and extensive use of metaphor lend a fictional resonance to his purported non-fiction. The landscape, or “shape of a country,” operates on several levels in Green Hills. During Hemingway and Kandisky’s literary discussion, a metaphor is set up that extends throughout the book. Hemingway makes an implicit comparison between hunting and writing. The writer’s material becomes the landscape while his subject is the quest or “pursuit” itself. In Green Hills the subject of the pursuit is the elusive kudu, an animal you must hunt alone, like writers must write alone or else—contaminated by their contact with other writers—they all will become “angleworms in a bottle, trying to derive knowledge and nourishment from their own contact and from the bottle” (21). In addition to the criteria Hemingway cites to become a great writer, namely talent, discipline, sincerity, intelligence, detachment, and time (27), it becomes apparent that the writer’s material, metaphorically the landscape, is also essential for success. Writers who do not experience life honestly and empirically will not have the material to be great but will instead present their “knowledge . . . wrapped in the rhetoric like plums in a pudding” (20), or write second-hand, dead prose. Kandisky, a watcher, exemplifies the sort of sterile, second-hand lifestyle Hemingway views as unproductive. Commenting on their conversation, Kandisky remarks, “This is what I enjoy. This is the best part of life. The life of the mind. This is not killing kudu” (19). What Kandisky omits in his version of the good life is the process of pursuit. In Green Hills, Hemingway’s quest for suitable terrain dramatizes the writer’s creative process. His search for good land—the material—consumes much of the book’s action. Not surprisingly, the kudu embodies the writer’s aim, a goal Kandisky (a non-writer, non-hunter, non-taker-of-risks) can no more understand than the pursuit of the kudu. Kandisky, in fact, skeptically interrogates Hemingway’s motivation in both pursuits: as hunter and as writer. By setting up this comparison between writing and hunting, material and land, early in the book, the narrative takes on the resonance of allegory, a literary device again crossing the boundaries of Hemingway’s ostensibly non-fictional project. As allegory, all the descriptions of landscape and pursuit may be read in terms of the writer’s craft and vice-versa. The repeated literary discussions and comments throughout the book—seemingly digressive non-sequiturs—reinforce this parallel construction; they are all as much about hunting as writing. Hemingway thus imbues the African landscape with value: there is good land and bad land. In keeping with the patterns Carlos Baker has noted, the low lands are bad while the highlands (hills) are good. Consequently, Hemingway experiences mostly frustration and disappointment on the Serengeti plains and the Rift Valley. Both areas emerge as wastelands. Clearly, these barren lands are as incapable of generating superior game as poor material is of generating superior prose. Predictably, the kudu are found in the lush highlands, a land that emerges unexpectedly and wonderfully at the edge of the plain. Under scrutiny, however, Hemingway’s allegorized landscape of good land/bad land, good material/bad material deteriorates. Even with talent or good land or good material, corruption lurks at the fringes. Similarly, the writer’s ability to truly represent reality—Hemingway’s standard for writing excellence—faces constant erosion due to the pressures of time as well as the exploitative forces of civilization. In the metafictional world of Green Hills, then, what Hemingway sees happening to the land relates back directly to what he sees happening to writers. The land itself—particularly good land—will ultimately fall prey to corruption and exploitation. Throughout the book, Hemingway refers to Tanganyika’s similarities to more familiar landscapes such as that of Michigan, Wyoming, Spain, France, and so forth, to universalize his experience. Tanganyika becomes synecdochical for the physical world as well as the textual world of the writer. Accordingly, Hemingway looks at Africa through the optics of his homelands, weaving several countries into the East African terrain until Tanganyika serves as geographical microcosm. Hemingway’s nostalgic references to other civilizations serve to reinforce the idea that the old frontiers—American, Spain, France, etc.—have been exploited, only isolated pockets of wilderness remain, and that even the relatively “virgin” terrain of East Africa demonstrates signs of infiltration. Interestingly, Hemingway does not comment on how his own big game hunting contributes to this exploitation. East Africa, though, is like a young, talented writer: fertile, valuable, and only showing faint traces of corruption. Hemingway can still find in the Masai’s terrain “a virgin country, an un-hunted pocket in the million miles of bloody Africa” (218). The Masai who live in this Eden are, appropriately, young and healthy. Conversely, association with civilization has already begun to mar the other areas of East Africa. The two trackers that lead him to the more idyllic Masai are, as Hemingway depicts them, a “disreputable” old man and his younger companion, a “skinny, dirty, Waterboo” (207). Hemingway’s inability to recognize himself as the “other” in Africa, as someone who stands out rather than blending into the landscape, blinds him to his role in marring Africa’s "virginity." Instead, Hemingway continues his “use” of Africa as both a big-game resource and as a metaphor for writing. Even with the best land and best material, Hemingway posits, the hunter/writer may still fail. In Hemingway’s view, a writer who “cheats” can only turn out a corrupt product. In similar terms, a hunter who does not shoot cleanly will leave an animal “gut-shot,” to die uncleanly and horribly. The hyena represents the dirty death of integrity and talent. Ultimately, there is only death, dirty or clean. Whether by the forces of time or corruption, the hunter and/or writer’s talents will erode. As Hemingway’s text suggests, to write well the author must experience the world and then be able to translate it. Hemingway provides us with an example. He takes the experience of his two-month safari, and omits, re-arranges, and condenses the action. In his reconstruction of events, the narrative begins near the end and then flashes back into the time just after Hemingway’s return from the hospital in Nairobi. The third section continues the action begun in section one, and the final section covers the last two days of the safari as well as a brief section a month later in Haifa, where they reminisce about the trip. Hemingway’s manipulation of time serves a number of purposes. In his narrative unraveling, time folds back upon itself to form a circle. The “end” of the story—the final three days of the safari—receives double emphasis by its placement at the end and beginning of the book. Of the book’s nearly three hundred pages, over half are devoted to the last three days of the safari. Hemingway’s refusal to present events chronologically is analogous to Roman Ingarden’s assertion that, once read, a book “exists simultaneously” and nothing is really later or earlier in a “temporal sense.” Our memory of real time operates similarly. Once experienced, an event exists in our consciousness in no particular order, and we may order the action and magnify it as we see fit. That Hemingway’s manipulation of time and action takes place in an autobiography—a form of non-fiction—rather than in a novel, highlights the artifice of chronological, so-called “realistic” fiction. Allegory, implicitly used through Green Hills, similarly fragments and spatializes time. As explained by Paul de Man, allegory exposes the slippage between sign and signifier rather than presuming the innate connection between sign and signifier symbolism implies. There is, for example, no logical or innate reason for Hemingway to overlay the process of hunting onto the process of writing except as the arbitrary—but artistic—conflation of events in his mind. Hemingway’s separation of good land/bad land also leads to manipulation of time and action. Recognizing the redemptive powers of language, Hemingway hastens his narration of time spent in the dried-up plains but shifts into narrative slow motion when they are in the highlands. The cluster of associations that Hemingway uses to instill an “emotional atmosphere” into the landscape describes the “fourth dimension” of writing he refers in his earlier literary conversation with Kandisky. The good lands (the highlands) contain the good animals (kudu, sable) and good people (Masai). Hemingway’s oft-discussed “fifth dimension” involves another step. The earth, contrary to the passage from Ecclesiastes Hemingway quotes in The Sun Also Rises, may abide forever but not as it was. Crumbling and eroding under the effects of time and exploitation, the earth moves toward entropy. The hyena may ravage the beauty of the kudu; ego may dissolve the talent of writers; and, though it is not mentioned, people very much like Hemingway may destroy Africa’s virgin splendor. Nothing lasts; all things lose their innocence. However, if done perfectly, writing may preserve an experience, a landscape—as it was—forever. Against the corrosive effects of time, a “perfect” representation of reality—the emotions, the sensations, not just the facts—may allow someone to experience what we experienced, over and over again: the fifth dimension. Although he does not use that term, in the beginning of Death in the Afternoon, Hemingway writes what is perhaps his clearest articulation of the fifth dimension: "[it is:] the real thing, the sequence of motion and fact which made the emotion and which would be as valid in a year or in ten years or, with luck and if you stated it purely enough, always” (2). When Hemingway states, then, that he will try to present the facts of the safari truly, he does not mean that there will be no artistic intervention. Clearly, a true representation can only occur with mediation, with the devices we generally associate with fiction. Hemingway’s assertion that none of the characters in the book is “imaginary” also warrants qualification. In Green Hills, Hemingway dominates the textual horizon; the other characters, thinly drawn, emerge as shadows in comparison. In contrast to the way he has represented Africa’s landscape, enhanced by full fictional apparatus, Hemingway’s representation of himself seems inescapably concrete; he juts into the narrative line, often acting un-heroically, but always complex . . . multivalent. Hemingway’s centeredness, his omnipresence, parallels the way we see ourselves. In this sense, then, the tendency for the Hemingway-persona to remain center-stage is a form of realism; we all enact this myth, Hemingway merely underscores it. Like the landscape and the events of the safari that Hemingway so carefully shapes and crafts, his own persona, in order to appear “real” has undergone considerable construction. The construction of an autobiographical subject, to use Paul de Man’s terms, is always a process of “blindness and insight.” An autobiographer looking at his life, like a critic surveying a literary work, can only see parts of it, and selects from these parts the moments that will comprise his or her autobiography. But what of Hemingway’s project to present characters—including himself—truly? If autobiography involves omission, selection, reconstruction and, finally, our erasure by writing itself, the ability to create a “true” representation becomes impossible. True representation, seen as an attempt to mirror reality, can be only a nostalgic dream. Certainly, the overtly fictional techniques in Green Hills do not reflect an attempt to make reality equal imitation. Instead, Hemingway would probably concur with Virginia Woolf’s reputed remark: “Art is not a copy of the real world. One the damn things is enough.” In the sense that Green Hills is a representation that totalizes or expresses everything in Hemingway’s safari, it is a failure. No one representation can ever be adequate. At best, the book is a fragment of how Hemingway remembered his experience, further distanced by the alienating powers of language. Hemingway, then, uses the word true to mean an artistic, rather than merely factual representation. Further, the Africa Hemingway constructs is blurred by the optics of privilege. Hemingway’s Africa would bear little resemblance to the Africa experienced by its own people. Consciously or unconsciously, Hemingway uses Africa. Throughout Green Hills, Africa is romanticized, allegorized, reduced to metaphor, and plundered. While Hemingway does construct a work of art, the truth of Green Hills, on any level, remains questionable. For all his efforts to present himself as an insider, as someone who understood Africa, Hemingway remains an outsider. Hemingway, at one point in the book, expresses his distaste for “safari books” written with a “bwana-mentality.” Yet, for all its artistry, Hemingway’s position as a tourist and the book’s biased construction of Africa, may relegate Green Hills to being just another safari book, though one better written than most.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Santiago Dotta

    Hemingway makes me realize I'm a pussy. He makes me realize every male human around me is a pussy. After reading this book I tried to find Hemingway's masculinity and spirit in every men I know (personally and famous ones), and of course the results where dissapointing. Then I realized, that EH couldn't live in our era. That there exists a symbiotic relationship between EH and the first half of 20th century. If you read breifly about Hemingway's life in Wikipedia, you realized his own life is a Hemingway makes me realize I'm a pussy. He makes me realize every male human around me is a pussy. After reading this book I tried to find Hemingway's masculinity and spirit in every men I know (personally and famous ones), and of course the results where dissapointing. Then I realized, that EH couldn't live in our era. That there exists a symbiotic relationship between EH and the first half of 20th century. If you read breifly about Hemingway's life in Wikipedia, you realized his own life is a harsh novel itself. And that his personality was shaped by all the events that occurred in this period of Human History. Wars, financial depressions, male chauvinism and huge rascists concepts accepted in society...and this events reached every men alive in occidental countries. Nowadays, we are taught that all these "events" were terrible for humanity, and, though they still exist, we must make our efforts to avoid them. In an effort to put a 21st century man in "Green Hills of Africa" scenes, I cannot imagine a high class, white wealthy adult travelling alone with 5 masai through the unknown, describing their body odor as a tasty fragance, without being able to communicate except by hand signals and an old dictionary, and leaving behind their blackberrys and Ipads, guiding themselves by following tracks and wind changes, without Garmin or TomTom guidances. Today the meaning of masculinity has drastically changed. And reading over EH books feels like a rearviewmirror to a more simple life... Hemingway has a way to disguise testosterone in words, and for me reading this book was a huge blow of it. After I finished it, I had the fool idea of searching web pages about hunting safaris in Africa, and prices on Springfield rifles. But after seeing some videos on youtube about major african hunt, I once again realized I'm not made of Hermingway's wood. It's kind of dissapointing and a relief at the same time, hehe. Now, sitting in a coffee shop, drinking a gellatto, and tiping in my netbook, make me feel ashamed that if Ernest sees me, he would call me a single phrase: "you really ARE a pussy".

  7. 4 out of 5

    Conor

    I do have positive things to say about this book but they are so tragically overshadowed by the negative. Frankly, I found this book boring. Perhaps I'm not the target audience but Hemingway made an East African hunting safari in 1935 seem unappealing. Book Summary: Hemingway goes up a hill, looks for kudu, shoots something, his Africans skin it, and he returns to camp and drinks whiskey. Repeat this about 35 times and you have the book. (Ok, sometimes the beast he kills is bigger and sometimes s I do have positive things to say about this book but they are so tragically overshadowed by the negative. Frankly, I found this book boring. Perhaps I'm not the target audience but Hemingway made an East African hunting safari in 1935 seem unappealing. Book Summary: Hemingway goes up a hill, looks for kudu, shoots something, his Africans skin it, and he returns to camp and drinks whiskey. Repeat this about 35 times and you have the book. (Ok, sometimes the beast he kills is bigger and sometimes smaller, and sometimes it takes him three shots to kill it but sometimes just one. So yes, a lot of variation.) Where are the passages on human nature? Where is the commentary on colonialism? Did Hemingway really take his white privilege/supremacy for granted, or did he omit this interesting and crucial element from the book on purpose? This book is a tragedy, even more so because it comes from the man who had an absolute masterpiece in For Whom the Bell Tolls.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Roy Lotz

    I have a good life but I must write because if I do not write a certain amount I do not enjoy the rest of my life. I came across The Green Hills of Africa selling for cheap at a used bookstore; and since I vaguely remembered that Hemingway’s famous quote about Huckleberry Finn came from this book (Hemingway thinks it’s the alpha and omega of American fiction), I snatched it up. Well, that quote is certainly in here. It is part of a conversation Hemingway has with an Austrian about literature, I have a good life but I must write because if I do not write a certain amount I do not enjoy the rest of my life. I came across The Green Hills of Africa selling for cheap at a used bookstore; and since I vaguely remembered that Hemingway’s famous quote about Huckleberry Finn came from this book (Hemingway thinks it’s the alpha and omega of American fiction), I snatched it up. Well, that quote is certainly in here. It is part of a conversation Hemingway has with an Austrian about literature, which for me was the highlight of the book. In just a few pages, Hemingway weighs the merits and demerits of various writers, and then gives his own philosophy of writing. It's quite fascinating. But this conversation takes place in the first few pages of this travel memoir; the rest of the book is dominated by his hunt for kudu. I suspect that many will find the story of Hemingway’s hunts distasteful. I, for one, am not at all interested in hunting. I have seen, and loved seeing, many of the animals in this book when I was in East Africa; so the many descriptions of shooting and skinning gave me the creeps. To me, it’s as if somebody walked into an art museum, took out a pen knife, and cut a famous painting out of its frame to take home. Can’t you just look and appreciate? Well, this perspective—that hunting is distasteful and crass—is expressed by the Austrian in the opening conversation about literature, and serves to set up the essential metaphor of this memoir. For Hemingway, art is very much akin to hunting: chasing a fleeting moment, through the brush and wilderness, under the heavy hot sun, following wherever it goes, in order to pin it down and capture it in words. The Austrian is, perhaps like myself, a critic: he wants only to look and appreciate. Hemingway differentiates himself as an artist by being a hunter: he stalks and kills. So this little memoir can be read, in part, as an extended allegory of Hemingway’s artistic ideals: the artist as disciplined, solitary hunter. But, of course, it is also a memoir of his time in Africa. And in this respect, I think the book was the most disappointing. Hemingway is away in his own little world, measuring the horns of his prizes, tracking wounded animals, peevishly complaining any time somebody kills a beast bigger than his. The drama of the hunt wasn’t dramatic; and Hemingway’s deadpan writing wasn’t evocative of the landscape. He seems uninterested in the political situation in East Africa—which was under the domination of the British—and he generally comes across as a boorish colonialist, only interested in his own pleasure. Certainly not his best work; but insightful for Hemingway enthusiasts, and possibly interesting for big game hunters.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Edita

    I can do nearly everything later. * They are afraid to be alone in their beliefs and no woman would love any of them enough so that they could kill their lonesomeness in that woman, or pool it with hers, or make something with her that makes the rest unimportant. * All I wanted to do now was get back to Africa. We had not left it, yet, but when I would wake in the night I would lie, listening, homesick for it already. Now, looking out the tunnel of trees over the ravine at the sky with white clouds m I can do nearly everything later. * They are afraid to be alone in their beliefs and no woman would love any of them enough so that they could kill their lonesomeness in that woman, or pool it with hers, or make something with her that makes the rest unimportant. * All I wanted to do now was get back to Africa. We had not left it, yet, but when I would wake in the night I would lie, listening, homesick for it already. Now, looking out the tunnel of trees over the ravine at the sky with white clouds moving across in the wind, I loved the country so that I was happy as you are after you have been with a woman that you really love, when, empty, you feel it welling up again and there it is and you can never have it all and yet what there is, now, you can have, and you want more and more, to have, and be, and live in, to possess now again for always, for that long, sudden-ended always, making time stand still, sometime so very still that afterwards you wait to hear it move, and, it is slow in starting. But you are not alone, because if you have ever really loved her happy and untragic, she loves you always, no matter whom she loves nor where she goes she loves you more. So if you have loved some woman and some country you are very fortunate and, if you die afterwards, it makes no difference. Now, being in Africa, I was hungry for more of it, the changes of the seasons, the rains with no need to travel, the discomforts that you paid to make it real, the names of the trees, of the small animals, and all the birds, to know the language and have time to be in it and to move slowly. I have loved country all my life, the country was always better than the people. I could only care about people a very few at a time. * [...] I’d lie behind a rock and watch them on the hillside and see them long enough so they belonged to me forever.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Arminion

    If somebody would ask me to describe this book in one sentence, I would say "Ernest Hemingway and his friends are hunting wild animals in Africa." That's it. That's all it ever happens. There is no convoluted plot here, no drama, no love story, no backstabbing, no heroes and villains, just hunting. And by God, is it boring! For starters, Hemingway is good in describing scenery and landscapes, although he goes into too much detail. He is also good at describing animals. In everything else however, If somebody would ask me to describe this book in one sentence, I would say "Ernest Hemingway and his friends are hunting wild animals in Africa." That's it. That's all it ever happens. There is no convoluted plot here, no drama, no love story, no backstabbing, no heroes and villains, just hunting. And by God, is it boring! For starters, Hemingway is good in describing scenery and landscapes, although he goes into too much detail. He is also good at describing animals. In everything else however, he fails miserably. First of all, he never describes the people he is hunting with. How does Pop looks? Or his wife? Or million other black native hunters with him? I don't know. It's as if Hemingway just decided that whoever reads his book, he or she would already be familiar with Hemingway's life and his close friends. It's almost as if Hemingway wrote this for himself, as some sort of diary (he probably did) and then later just said "Oh you know what? I could publish this." And then he just send it to the printers, without much care about editing. I also hated how he called his wife "P.O.M" like it's some kind of secret or disgrace if he writes her real name down. Another bad thing about this book is his wooden dialogs and the abundant use of foreign words of the natives which he rarely translates, which further slows down the reading. Then there is constant cheering and bragging about how great shot he is. Yes, because it takes a real effort to pull a trigger at an unarmed and helpless animal. And the constant repetition of the story! "We went in the shrubs and high grass. We saw something move. I saw the animal. How great it was! I shot it down. The natives are jumping out of joy and congratulating me. They skin the animal. We go back to camp. We sit by the fire, drink alcohol and read books. We go to bed." And then the whole thing just repeat itself. Over and over again. And there you have it - Green Hills of Africa.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Samir Rawas Sarayji

    The first thing that struck me was the foreword: Unlike many novels, none of the characters or incidents in this book is imaginary. Anyone not finding sufficient love interest is at liberty, while reading it, to insert whatever love interest he or she may have at the time. The writer has attempted to write an absolutely true book to see whether the shape of a country and the pattern of a month’s action can, if truly presented, compete with a work of the imagination. This alone was quite interestin The first thing that struck me was the foreword: Unlike many novels, none of the characters or incidents in this book is imaginary. Anyone not finding sufficient love interest is at liberty, while reading it, to insert whatever love interest he or she may have at the time. The writer has attempted to write an absolutely true book to see whether the shape of a country and the pattern of a month’s action can, if truly presented, compete with a work of the imagination. This alone was quite interesting and gave the impression of an antithesis to a typical introduction of a fiction book where the author denies any similarities to real persons living or dead and of the circumstances to being a work of fiction etc. Yet the book begins in the fashion of a fiction narrative and the dialogue (typically Hemingway) reverberates from his more established fictional titles. This style of an autobiographical account narrated in fictional prose is new to me. The selective nature of having a theme (game hunting) and setting (East Africa within a one-year time span) and encounters based on real-life experience, which is transferred to an audience as a story, worked wonders in terms of entertainment, realism and pure literary delight. Putting this new-found awe aside, what also jumped out at me and got me thinking was the following: The way… to write (is) as long as you can live and there is pencil and paper or ink or any machine to do it with, or anything you care to write about, and you feel a fool, to do it any other way. But here we were, now, caught by time, by the season, and by the running out of our money, so that what should have been as much fun to do each day whether you killed or not was being forced into that most exciting perversion of life; the necessity of accomplishing something in less time than should truly be allowed for its doing. And so Hemingway quickly, in the stroke of a brush, interspersed between sentences about hunting, provides the reader with his analysis of what writing represents to him and what he believes by de facto to be a universal truth to everyone else. He does have a point, of course, because writers want to write and they want to write about what they care about – what would be the point otherwise? But calling the reality of life, namely, lack of money as a catalyst to rushing through deadlines as a perversion, is what struck me to be an encapsulating generalization of what writers have to go through to make a living. There is much wisdom in these words and it is a perversion when a literary work must be rushed. Deadlines can be invaluable to writers to keep them working and a necessity for the publishing profession, be it newspapers, small presses, big publishing houses… the economic world needs its numbers. And dates are just that, necessary numbers that work within an analytical framework in relation to other numbers such as budgets, estimated sales, predicted revenue and all the other blah… But what about the story, is it still art? Probably to the reader, who expects nothing less… but to all those in the in-between chain, it’s a commodity and the writer better provide it on time, or else suffer the consequences of no money. The chosen passages below are from early on in the book, which I found both informative and stimulating. The discussion begins in a dialogue where Hemingway is probed about American literature by an inquisitive expat. Hemingway discusses his take on American literature at the period (circa 1935): “We do not have great writers,” I said. “Something happens to our good writers at a certain age. I can explain but it is quite long and may bore you.” He then talks about Melville where he believes: “They [people] put a mystery which is not there.” And then he goes on to talk about Emerson, Hawthorne, Whitter and Company as “…exiled English colonials from an England from which they were never a part…” Then there’s this curious utterance by Hemingway: Some writers are only born to help another writer to write one sentence. […] Writers should work alone. they should see each other only after their work is done, and not too often then. Otherwise, they become like writers in New York. It does make me think whether Hemingway’s insight is as relevant today as it was then. And when talking about the good writers, Hemingway refers to Henry James, Stephen Crane, and Mark Twain. He says: “Mark Twain is a humorist. The others I do not know.” And then the often referenced passage about Twain: All modern American literature comes from one book by Mark Twain called Huckleberry Finn. If you read it you must stop where the Nigger Jim is stolen from the boys. That is the real end. The rest is just cheating. But it’s the best book we’ve had. all American writing comes from that. There was nothing before. There has been nothing as good since. Hemingway explains the fall of writers as particularly due to extra costs and hurried work: We destroy them [American writers] in many ways. First economically. They make money. It is only by a hazard that a writer makes money although good books always make money eventually. Then our writers when they have made some money increase their standard of living and they are caught. They have to write to keep up their establishment, their wives, and so on, and they write slop. It is not slop on purpose but because it is hurried. Because they write when there is nothing to say or no water in the well. Because they are ambitious. Then, once they have betrayed themselves, they justify it and you get more slop. These exchanges and others not quoted here helped reveal a lot about Hemingway’s views on the literature of his time. The manner in which Hemingway expresses these viewpoints is original, bearing in mind this is neither an article, journal, memoir, essay or any other strict form. Green Hills of Africa is a non-fiction book (perhaps what is termed today ‘Creative Non-fiction’) depicting a certain time frame in Hemingway’s life involving one theme – hunting. What, then, made him keep these exchanges when editing his book for publication? And why the need to share these personal viewpoints about his contemporaries in such an out-of-context theme?

  12. 5 out of 5

    Jay

    I was ready to not like this book. I have had a long-term fascination with Spain and had some deeper appreciation of bullfighting so Hemingway’s earlier experiment with non-fiction, Death in the Afternoon, which reflected so perfectly what Miguel de Unamuno had identified as the Spaniards' “tragic sense of life,” was a strong and intriguing read. It certainly prepared me for a Hemingway who could do non-fiction creatively. But a non-fiction book on big game hunting in Africa seemed not my cup. I I was ready to not like this book. I have had a long-term fascination with Spain and had some deeper appreciation of bullfighting so Hemingway’s earlier experiment with non-fiction, Death in the Afternoon, which reflected so perfectly what Miguel de Unamuno had identified as the Spaniards' “tragic sense of life,” was a strong and intriguing read. It certainly prepared me for a Hemingway who could do non-fiction creatively. But a non-fiction book on big game hunting in Africa seemed not my cup. I understood bullfighting as art but big game hunting was wanton destruction. I should have known that Hemingway could weave strength in the flaccid. Much like Death in the Afternoon, The Green Hills of Africa was about more than hunting animals in the sub-continent. There was hunting, of course. The book was an account of a month-long safari that Ernest and Pauline Hemingway took during their longer trip to East Africa between November 1933 and March 1934. Hemingway was an avid hunter and his descriptions of his stalkings and kills absorb most of the pages. Much of that description is some of his best writing, particularly in the last chapters. Yet literary critics at the time did not view the book as much more than a curiosity. They focused on the book’s theme and seemed to dismiss the writing itself. But for Hemingway, the book was an experiment. As he wrote in the foreword: “The writer has attempted to write an absolutely true book to see whether the shape of a country and the pattern of a month’s action can, if truly presented, compete with a work of imagination.” The Green Hills of Africa was, in addition to an account of a safari, part of an experimental period with non-fiction. In that regard, I have come to see it perhaps as a precursor to Truman Capote’s In Cold Blood. It was also a work in which he continued to explore new elements of style, experimenting with more complex sentences with subordinate clauses—with longer, more complex phrasings that dominated some of his later fiction. As an extreme example think of that remarkable sentence on the Gulf Stream that starts on page 148 and ends on page 150. The incidents and the people chronicled in the book were real, or at least as real as Hemingway could make them. And Hemingway himself is a major actor in all of his strengths and in some of his weaknesses. He was in a constant twit that one of his hunting companions, Charles Thompson (named Karl in the book), was consistently more successful than he in bagging the really big animals. And more than envy, he either did not see or chose to not describe the African people. The Africans were there but only as shadows, in service to Papa and his friends. The account reflected Hemingway’s own times and world view that was insensitive to peoples outside of the Western European tradition. The 1930s were still the epoch of the White Man’s burden. Although Hemingway did not give his readers an intimate view of Africa and her peoples, he did comment on writers and on the art of writing. Peppered throughout the book are Hemingway’s more personal thoughts about those topics. It is here were he recorded his thoughts about American letters: “The good writers are Henry James, Stephen Crane, and Mark Twain.” It is also in this book where he talks about the Gulf Stream for the first time, something that will become central to him in so many ways in both his life and some of his future writings. If for no other reason, the book has emerged as more than a mere curiosity in the Hemingway corpus for what followed its publication. The Green Hills of Africa had not been well received by all of the critics and Hemingway was depressed by the quite stinging critiques. In the midst of that depression, he pulled out of the safari experience recounted in The Green Hills of Africa two stories that are arguably his best: “The Snows of Kilimanjaro” and “The Short Life of Francis Macomber”. The Green Hills of Africa provided the stage for new heights in Hemingway’s creative artistry.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Craig Werner

    Hemingway can be an irritating son of a bitch and this book is near the top of the "here's why" list. A memoir of Hemingway's hunting expedition to East Africa--an area I spent two weeks in recently--, Green Hills shows absolutely no awareness of the colonial history that structures the relations between the hunter and the numerous Africans who make his pleasure possible. There are a few moments when Hemingway realizes that the men who accompany him are every bit as skilled and courageous as he Hemingway can be an irritating son of a bitch and this book is near the top of the "here's why" list. A memoir of Hemingway's hunting expedition to East Africa--an area I spent two weeks in recently--, Green Hills shows absolutely no awareness of the colonial history that structures the relations between the hunter and the numerous Africans who make his pleasure possible. There are a few moments when Hemingway realizes that the men who accompany him are every bit as skilled and courageous as he is, but those are surrounded by countless scenes where the white supremacy is simply embedded in the reporting. What makes that doubly irritating is Hemingway's belief in his own honesty. Yeah, well. Part of my response is no doubt tied to the fact that I'm not a hunter. My own experience of the wildlife of Tanzania was simple awe; I didn't feel the slightest inclination to kill it. I do understand that for Hemingway, hunting involves an aesthetic of attention and care that parallels his approach to writing. And it's clear that there's a good bit of irony in his portrait of himself as Great White Hunter--he screws up roughly as many shots as he makes and he describes his feelings of shame, but ultimately it all comes out as celebration. Stylistically, there are far too many moments when you can't tell the difference between Hemingway and Hemingway parodied. Far from his best writing. I was surprised to come across the famous passage--often excerpted out of context--in which Hemingway mediates on Huck Finn as the source of American literature. It's a great set piece, oddly situated. I'm moving on to the short story collection The Snows of Kilimanjaro, written after the experiences described in this book had some time to marinate.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Paul Haspel

    The green of Africa’s hills is so beautiful that it hurts the eyes. I remember looking down from the top of one terrace of hills, across a valley with a deep blue stream at its bottom, toward high hills on the other side – it was in the town of Karen, Kenya, southwest of Nairobi; coincidentally, close to a resort called Hemingway’s – and thinking, “It’s hard to believe that anything on Earth can be this beautiful.” And Ernest Hemingway captures well the beauty of Africa in his book Green Hills o The green of Africa’s hills is so beautiful that it hurts the eyes. I remember looking down from the top of one terrace of hills, across a valley with a deep blue stream at its bottom, toward high hills on the other side – it was in the town of Karen, Kenya, southwest of Nairobi; coincidentally, close to a resort called Hemingway’s – and thinking, “It’s hard to believe that anything on Earth can be this beautiful.” And Ernest Hemingway captures well the beauty of Africa in his book Green Hills of Africa (1935). Originally published in serial form in Scribner’s Magazine, this book chronicles the experiences of Hemingway, his second wife Pauline, and a group of friends and acquaintances on safari in East Africa. The book contains many examples of Hemingway’s characteristically sparse-and-yet-poetic prose, as in this passage describing a foot safari in search of rhinoceros: “I saw something moving over the shoulder of one of the valleys toward a strip of the timber. In the glasses it was a rhino, showing very clear and minute at the distance, red-colored in the sun, moving with a quick waterbug-like motion across the hill. Then there were three more of them that came out of the forest, dark in the shadow, and two that fought, tinily, in the glasses, pushing head-on, fighting in front of a clump of bushes while we watched them and the light failed” (p. 50). It seems so simple, doesn’t it? To write a passage of description like that. Three sentences. And of the 89 words in those three sentences, none is a word of more than three syllables. And yet, who among us can write a passage like that – put us right there in East Africa with a group of hunters pursuing a rhino, make us see and feel every detail, with that degree of immediacy? That, I suppose, is why Hemingway is Hemingway. Like every great artist, he makes his art look easy. In Hemingway’s time, Green Hills of Africa was no doubt read with a degree of good-natured envy by armchair adventurers who wished that they too could be out there – in the early morning, say, getting ready for the day’s hunt: “Breakfast in the dark with a lantern, cool juice-slippery apricots, hash, hot-centered, brown, and catsup spread, two fried eggs and the warm promise-keeping coffee” (p. 201). Continuing with the kind of fantasy hunting-trip that this book encourages one to imagine, I can envision being there as part of the hunting party, with Ernest and Pauline and Pop and M’Cola and the rest of the group. We eat our kill, knocking back whiskeys, talking life and literature with good old Ernest while the campfire crackles and roars. I imagine sitting there, part of the group, part of the conversation, as Ernest indulges in reflections like this one – perhaps the most famous and non-hunting-related passage from this hunting-focused book: “All modern American literature comes from one book by Mark Twain called Huckleberry Finn….There was nothing before. There has been nothing as good since” (p. 22). And then, because I’m from Maryland, I ask Ernest what he thinks about Edgar Allan Poe, and Ernest, to my chagrin, says, “Poe is a skillful writer. It is skillful, marvelously constructed, and it is dead” (p. 20). And so the conversation goes, as I talk late into the night with Ernest and Pauline and Pop, before we all go back to our respective tents and get ready for the next day’s adventures. And then, back to reality. I do not hunt. I do not drink whiskey. And I know that the real-life Hemingway, depending on his mood and his state of health and his personal life and the amount he had had to drink, could be a singularly disagreeable companion. But the way the book puts one there, makes one imagine being a living part of its action, speaks to its imaginative power. Hemingway captures well the camaraderie, the simpatico, that can exist among a group of hunters, as when this hunting party, the members of which do not all speak each other’s languages, are tracking some kudu: “You ask how this was discussed, worked out, and understood with the bar of language, and I say it was as freely discussed and clearly understood as though we were a cavalry patrol all speaking the same language. We were all hunters…and the whole thing could be worked out, understood, and agreed to without using anything but a forefinger to signal and a hand to caution” (p. 251). At the same time, this is a book that must be read in historical context, as public attitudes toward big-game hunting have changed so dramatically since 1935. Nowadays, modern readers may look with a decidedly post-1935 eye at passages like this one, where Hemingway hunts a Cape buffalo with a double-barreled .470, a heavy-calibre gun with which he is not comfortable: “I sat down, the big gun feeling heavy and unfamiliar, held on the buff’s shoulder, squeezed off and flinched without firing. Instead of the sweet clean pull of the Springfield with the smooth, unhesitant release at the end, this trigger came to what, in a squeeze, seemed metal stuck against metal. It was like when you shoot in a nightmare. I couldn’t squeeze it and I corrected from my flinch, held my breath, and pulled the trigger. It pulled off with a jerk and the big gun made a rocking explosion out of which I came, seeing the buffalo still on his feet, and going out of sight on the left in a climbing run…” (pp. 100-01) In Hemingway’s world, in 1935, what follows is a long discussion among Hemingway and the rest of the hunting party regarding the relative merits of the Springfield and the .470 as hunting weapons, along with speculations regarding the possibility that the buffalo may have been gut-shot. In our time, however, when most people on contemporary safaris shoot the Big Five (Cape buffalo, elephant, leopard, lion, rhinoceros) only with cameras, many readers may focus more on the animal’s suffering, and less on the hunters’ adventures. We live, after all, in a world where a Minneapolis-area dentist became for a time one of the most hated people on Earth when he killed “Cecil the Lion,” a particularly well-known and beloved lion, near a Zimbabwean national park in 2015. Readers who are serious anti-hunting humanitarians may want to avoid this book. In fairness to Hemingway, however, I must acknowledge that Green Hills of Africa does include a passage in which Hemingway speculates on the pain that hunting causes for the animal involved, and relates it to his own suffering – a time when he was in hospital, with a broken and infected arm: “Alone with the pain in the night in the fifth week of not sleeping I thought suddenly how a bull elk must feel if you break a shoulder and he gets away and in that night I lay and felt it all, the whole thing as it would happen from the shock of the bullet to the end of the business and, being a little out of my head, thought perhaps what I was going through was a punishment for all hunters. Then, getting well, decided if it was a punishment I had paid it and at least I knew what I was doing. I did nothing that had not been done to me. I had been shot and I had been crippled and gotten away. I expected, always, to be killed by one thing or another and I, truly, did not mind that any more. Since I still loved to hunt I resolved that I would only shoot as long as I could kill cleanly and as soon as I lost that ability I would stop.” (p. 148) It might not be enough to mollify, say, the national director of PETA; but at least Hemingway is considering the ethics of the hunting he so loves. Green Hills of Africa is a powerful look at an earlier time and place. Nowadays, when so much of Africa’s magnificent wildlife is in danger of extinction – the West African black rhinoceros (Diceros bicornis longpipes), for example, was declared extinct by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) in October of 2016, just seven months ago – it expresses an attitude toward big-game hunting that is not sustainable in our era. But it is a poetically written and powerful book that conveys the grace and power with which Ernest Hemingway wrote about whatever interested him.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Jim

    Having just read Ernest Hemingway’s Green Hills of Africa, I begin to understand why he shot himself in 1961. I had not read any Hemingway for over thirty years, and I realize now there was a reason for this. There was Papa H in Africa, frequently asserting how he loved the place and the people. Yet he is envious of another member of his hunting party, Karl, who is more successful in grabbing the big trophies. Even when he kills a kudu, which he has been trying to do for the whole length of the Having just read Ernest Hemingway’s Green Hills of Africa, I begin to understand why he shot himself in 1961. I had not read any Hemingway for over thirty years, and I realize now there was a reason for this. There was Papa H in Africa, frequently asserting how he loved the place and the people. Yet he is envious of another member of his hunting party, Karl, who is more successful in grabbing the big trophies. Even when he kills a kudu, which he has been trying to do for the whole length of the book, he has this dialog with Pop, the leader of the group, conscious that Karl has bagged a bigger kudu:“We have very primitive emotions,” [Pop] said. “It’s impossible not to be competitive. Spoils everything, though.” “I’m all through with that,” said. “I’m all right again. I had quite a trip, you know.” The only problem is that I didn’t believe him. Again and again, Hemingway is hyper-conscious of competing, of looking good in the eyes of his fellow hunters and his native assistants. He talks about Droopy, a native tracker:M’Cola [another tracker] was not jealous of Droopy. He simply knew that Droop was a better man than he was. more of a hunter, a faster and cleaner tracker, and a great stylist in everything he did.At another point, Papa talks of his “wanting to make a shot to impress Droopy.” Hemingway, too, was a great stylist—in his own way. The prose of The Green Hills of Africa at times rises to the level of poetry. In this, he falls victim to the happiness trap, of always wanting to be happy, of always overcoming hurdles and progressing from one triumph to another. But life is not like that. One must appreciate the little things, to behave prayerfully and thankfully when he has taken the life of some splendid game, to grab at the moments of happiness that are fleeting and resolve to slog manfully through all the merde with which a life is interlarded.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Mr.

    Green Hills of Africa is set (surprise) in Africa, and it primarily concerns hunting for Kudu and Rhino. Hemingway draws you into the realm of the physical; he draws in precise detail the machinery of the rifles, the approach of the rhino, the canvas of Africa's deep and beauteous terrain. There are passages in here of remarkable grit and beauty: "It was a hot place to camp, under trees that had been girdled to kill them so that the se-se fly would leave, and there was hard hunting in the hills, Green Hills of Africa is set (surprise) in Africa, and it primarily concerns hunting for Kudu and Rhino. Hemingway draws you into the realm of the physical; he draws in precise detail the machinery of the rifles, the approach of the rhino, the canvas of Africa's deep and beauteous terrain. There are passages in here of remarkable grit and beauty: "It was a hot place to camp, under trees that had been girdled to kill them so that the se-se fly would leave, and there was hard hunting in the hills, which were steep, brushy, and very broken, with a hard climb before you got up into them, and easy hunting on the wooded flats where you wandered as though through a deer park" (136). This book was published in 1935, and Hemingway's prose had (sadly), already begun to degenerate from the peak of cold and simple beauty that made his early short-fiction classic literature. However, unlike his latest writing, his obvious exuberant happiness and excitement about life and nature seeps onto the page. He employs the ice-berg technique; we get little information about the characters and their lives and situations. Hemingway entices the reader with a miniature portrait of place, and time. It is about man and nature and redemption through physical activity and danger.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Berit Lundqvist

    Considering the fact that I, in the mid 70’s, was that squeamish highschool girl who dropped out of biology class the very day we were supposed to dissect a hamster, I’m not the least surprised that I didn’t like this book. Killing animals is simply not my thing. On the other hand, I can respect if people kill for food. Well, at least on an intellectual level. Kill for fun or pleasure? Not so much. The story goes like this: Ernest goes to Africa in the early 1930’s, together with his second wife Pa Considering the fact that I, in the mid 70’s, was that squeamish highschool girl who dropped out of biology class the very day we were supposed to dissect a hamster, I’m not the least surprised that I didn’t like this book. Killing animals is simply not my thing. On the other hand, I can respect if people kill for food. Well, at least on an intellectual level. Kill for fun or pleasure? Not so much. The story goes like this: Ernest goes to Africa in the early 1930’s, together with his second wife Pauline and some other aquaintances, to hunt. Ernest wants to kill a kudu, but doesn’t succeed. Ernest drinks whisky. Ernest meets an an Austrian. Ernest drinks beer. Ernest trashtalks some other authors. Ernest kills a rhino, but the horn is too small. His friend has killed a rhino with a bigger horn. Ernest drinks whisky. Again. Ernest praises some other authors. Ernest kills a lion. Ernest drinks whisky yet another time. Ernest thinks deep thoughts about the noble art of writing. Ernest kills a zebra. Whisky for everybody. Ernest kills a duck. Some more whisky, please. Ernest finally kills a kudu, but it’s a female. And so it goes on and on. Utterly boring! And I’m so glad I’m still that squeamish girl. But I do like whisky.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Elsa

    Read this book because I was in the Chulu Hills in Kenya -- the very place about which Hemingway was writing -- and could barely finish. I've always appreciated the skill with which Hemingway wrote fiction but this is a piece of memoir/reportage in which the writer inserted himself solidly into the story, revealing himself (with the rawest of perspectives) to be a mean, self-absorbed, destructive embarrassment of a person at that point in his life. to be fair, I have read the biography of Martha Read this book because I was in the Chulu Hills in Kenya -- the very place about which Hemingway was writing -- and could barely finish. I've always appreciated the skill with which Hemingway wrote fiction but this is a piece of memoir/reportage in which the writer inserted himself solidly into the story, revealing himself (with the rawest of perspectives) to be a mean, self-absorbed, destructive embarrassment of a person at that point in his life. to be fair, I have read the biography of Martha Gelhorn and remember the passages that describe her marriage to and subsequent divorce from Hemingway, who by that point was chasing imagined submarines off Cuba a "hunting" fantasy. At the end, he wrote in a letter to her, "are you a journalist or a wife in my bed?" What an insult! As if being a (his) wife could outweigh -- or even measure up to -- the reward and excitement of reporting, writing, living as an independent woman. Pshaw! Despised Hemingway in this book, it gets the only star for no more than 3 insightful passages.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Victoria Kellaway

    Reading Hemingway is always a pleasure but there's something about reading a book on a topic you don't expect to care about (big game hunting, bullfighting) and finding you do care, very much. It's fascinating and inspiring. I loved the interplay between Hemingway and Pop, Hemingway and Karl, Hemingway and M'Cola, Hemingway and the dramatic one. I loved being able to see exactly where I was, all the time. I loved Hemingway on writing but most of all I loved Hemingway on Africa, Hemingway on Amer Reading Hemingway is always a pleasure but there's something about reading a book on a topic you don't expect to care about (big game hunting, bullfighting) and finding you do care, very much. It's fascinating and inspiring. I loved the interplay between Hemingway and Pop, Hemingway and Karl, Hemingway and M'Cola, Hemingway and the dramatic one. I loved being able to see exactly where I was, all the time. I loved Hemingway on writing but most of all I loved Hemingway on Africa, Hemingway on America. That's his secret, the reason we love him. His truths are so true, before you read them you're foolish enough to think you're the only one who felt them.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Chuck

    This is a difficult book to review. I have never enjoyed Hemmingway's fiction as much as others of his time like John Steinbeck or Sinclair Lewis. That said, this book is special because of its insight to Hemmingway's personality which includes killing everything that gets under his gunsights, drinking excessively, uncontrolled aggression and competition with his fellow hunters and anger and condescension toward his African guides. Hemmingway's account of this trip seem more of an affirmation of This is a difficult book to review. I have never enjoyed Hemmingway's fiction as much as others of his time like John Steinbeck or Sinclair Lewis. That said, this book is special because of its insight to Hemmingway's personality which includes killing everything that gets under his gunsights, drinking excessively, uncontrolled aggression and competition with his fellow hunters and anger and condescension toward his African guides. Hemmingway's account of this trip seem more of an affirmation of his manhood than a travel dialogue; great white hunter, Bwana Boss, etc. He does show great affection and compassion for his wife which is endearing. This book describes the Africa that is so special and as an offset shows a man out of control emotionally. He does, however, write with lovely compassion about Africa and does show that he understands his emotional overreactions, but the book gives a prediction of the life that he will encounter in the future. I am certainly glad I read this book and enjoyed it more than much of his fiction, but found it sad and revealing.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Claire

    A rather boring read, as it is all the time about hunting. However, Hemingway is such a talented writer, he makes up for the shortcomings just by his style.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Lyn

    Very entertaining and told with a greater depth than at first noticeable, subtle and disturbing under the surface.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Emily

    That was beautiful. Love Hemingway, love him.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Doug

    This reads like a time-capsule back to the day when big game hunting was glamorous and thrilling, before it came to be as respectable as armed robbery. Taken in that sense, this is a gripping read. It’s simple. It’s about hunting, killing, reading, and writing. There’s a brilliant (and much quoted) dialog near the beginning when Hemingway runs into talkative and educated local, a rare thing out in the African bush in the 1930s. Hemingway puts forth a remarkable analysis of American writers, what This reads like a time-capsule back to the day when big game hunting was glamorous and thrilling, before it came to be as respectable as armed robbery. Taken in that sense, this is a gripping read. It’s simple. It’s about hunting, killing, reading, and writing. There’s a brilliant (and much quoted) dialog near the beginning when Hemingway runs into talkative and educated local, a rare thing out in the African bush in the 1930s. Hemingway puts forth a remarkable analysis of American writers, what it means to write well, what makes an author great, why they tend to fail. A lot of it, it seems to me, is spot-on. The plotting is simple. He hunts all day. He drinks, chats, and sleeps all night. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. This will bore readers who like their stuff more plot driven, which I usually do as well, but this didn’t bore me at all. It’s in part because Hemingway’s prose is pretty effin’ incredible. It’s also because I’ve recently read The Hunter’s Way by Raleigh and it’s interesting to recognize the hunter’s mentality in Hemingway’s memoir. Not a hunter myself, don’t want to be, but they have a code, an impressive one if they can stick to it, and it’s interesting watching it come into play here. I could be all analytical about Hemingway’s themes of masculinity, testing one’s self in the wild, grace under pressure, etc, but that would ruin the fun. There’s a terrific scene where Hemingway sees a Masai wandering the plains and pretends he’s going to shoot him, just to upset his hunting guide whom he hates. The guide is panicked. “No! No! A man! A man!” Hemingway replies innocently, “No? Don’t shoot men?” It’s funny. This is a book about the way men pick on each other, support each other, get jealous of each other. Sometimes it’s petty. Sometimes it’s noble. Sometimes it’s just for laughs. And in Hemingway’s hands, it’s always entertaining. There’s a particularly good passage when Hemingway, feverish, imagines in detail what it must be like to be prey, to feel the bullet inside you, to feel the burning pain and feel death close in. But Hemingway remembers that he’d been shot before too, and he wasn’t doing anything to the animal that hadn’t been done to him. It’s a convoluted bit of reasoning, but hey, you love what you love and rationalize it any way you can. It’s also a brilliantly worded insight into Hemingway’s mentality and his underlying themes. This is his code of living – we all get handed a raw deal at some point, so stop whining and suck it up. Critics have long complained that the more Hemingway inserts himself into his own work, the more his work suffers. Complaints of self-aggrandizement, machismo, etc. But I’ve found a lot more satisfaction in Hemingway’s memoirs – Green Hills of Africa, A Moveable Feast – than his fiction, and a lot more satisfaction from his hunting stories – Snows of Kilimanjaro, Old Man and the Sea – than ones about bullfighting or mobsters. Green Hills suits me both ways.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Audrey Ashbrook

    A non-fiction account of Ernest Hemingway's two-month long safari in Africa during the winter of 1933, Green Hills of Africa was enjoyable to me because of Hemingway's voice. His descriptions of the land, animals, and the people he meets along the way are excellent. His dialogues and back and forth between himself and his companions made me chuckle at times. I especially enjoyed reading the conversations with "Pop" a.k.a. Jackson Phillips, an old big-game hunting friend of Hemingway.  Although I A non-fiction account of Ernest Hemingway's two-month long safari in Africa during the winter of 1933, Green Hills of Africa was enjoyable to me because of Hemingway's voice. His descriptions of the land, animals, and the people he meets along the way are excellent. His dialogues and back and forth between himself and his companions made me chuckle at times. I especially enjoyed reading the conversations with "Pop" a.k.a. Jackson Phillips, an old big-game hunting friend of Hemingway.  Although I am not interested in hunting, it was interesting to follow along as the group travelled and traversed the harsh yet beautiful terrain searching for several different animals. Hemingway states a few times that he will only shoot to kill an animal, as maiming or hurting the animal is cruel to him, and he will only try to end an animal's life if he can do so as quickly as possible. I like that take on it, at least.  "The Short, Happy Life of Francis Macomber" is, I believe, my favorite short story of Hemingway's and so this account was a delight to read in that regard. I also just genuinely enjoy the way he writes things, and his attention to people, characteristics and dialogue. I felt like I was there in Africa with them, although I would have been completely terrified trying to sneak up on a rhino or a lion; no thank you to that.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Barbara Nutting

    I won’t rate this as I didn’t get far. I should have known it was about big game hunting, but I didn’t. Was hoping for an African tale. I despise guns and hunting so I knew to quit before I started. Makes me think of Eric Trump and his “trophies”. UGH!

  27. 4 out of 5

    Kimron

    I don't care for hunting and I don't care much for safari neither I don't care for hunting and I don't care much for safari neither

  28. 5 out of 5

    Anthony Salazar

    Some interesting conversations hidden among lengthy pages of egotistical poaching.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Steve

    Hemingway’s Green Hills of Africa is a curious piece of writing to judge. For the first hundred pages or so, I sensed the novelist pushing the boundaries of what was intended to be a piece of non-fiction. Literary detectives will have no trouble picking out the beginnings of “The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber” and “The Snows of Kilimanjaro.” Looking back, via Hemingway’s biography, things were starting to sour between Hemingway and his wife, Pauline. And I think it shows a bit in Green Hi Hemingway’s Green Hills of Africa is a curious piece of writing to judge. For the first hundred pages or so, I sensed the novelist pushing the boundaries of what was intended to be a piece of non-fiction. Literary detectives will have no trouble picking out the beginnings of “The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber” and “The Snows of Kilimanjaro.” Looking back, via Hemingway’s biography, things were starting to sour between Hemingway and his wife, Pauline. And I think it shows a bit in Green Hills. I don’t think it a great jump to see that some of the early conversations between husband and wife are charged with a tension that is suggestive of discord beneath a brittle (and consciously projected) surface. There were times I felt the dialogue to be right up there with Hemingway’s best. But then he backs away from that darker path, and settles into a more surface level account of the hunt. And yet things never flatten out totally, since the book alternates between Hemingway's meditations and his stalking and shooting stuff. At its best it combines the two. For example, there’s an almost mystical hunt for a rhino, which Hemingway shoots from a very long distance. I thought this was one of the book’s best passages, showing the author at his descriptive best. There’s also a good passage involving the stalking of an unseen lion. There is real danger, and Hemingway captures this beautifully. There are also numerous passages on writing and writers that reveals Hemingway as a true student of the craft. And there is also one strange stream of consciousness meditation on the Gulf Stream and life, which is accomplished with a two page sentence! Daring, yes, Faulkner might of loved it, but I’m not sure it fits the context of what, at least on surface, Hemingway was trying to accomplish. On the downside, there’s Hemingway’s personality, which can grate on you. Pompous, childish, often cruel, to know him, in a non-fiction setting, is not to love him. However, in Hemingway’s defense, there are several instances where he acknowledges these things about himself. Green Hills of Africa is an interesting read, but more for reasons of Hemingway’s overall biography, than for the book itself.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Naomi

    On the back of copy of "Green Hills of Africa" I have is this quote from the Times Literary Supplement: "This book is an expression of a deep enjoyment and appreciation of being alive - in Africa. There is more to it than [hunting]; it is the feeling of the dew on the grass in the morning, the shape and colour and smell of the country, the companionship of friends... and the feeling that time has ceased to matter." I agree with the quote somewhat, but not entirely. Yes, there are beautiful passag On the back of copy of "Green Hills of Africa" I have is this quote from the Times Literary Supplement: "This book is an expression of a deep enjoyment and appreciation of being alive - in Africa. There is more to it than [hunting]; it is the feeling of the dew on the grass in the morning, the shape and colour and smell of the country, the companionship of friends... and the feeling that time has ceased to matter." I agree with the quote somewhat, but not entirely. Yes, there are beautiful passages and descriptions of Africa, the individuals Hemingway meets such as the Masai tribesmen towards the end, and interesting musings covering a variety of topics related and unrelated to Africa and hunting. However, most of this particular memoir has to do with hunting, as I knew ahead of time, and despite knowing what I would encounter, I still did not find it to be particularly engaging and relevant to me. I am not interested in hunting, especially when it comes to hunting big game, so I had a hard time stomaching some of the scenes describing the specifics of killing, or attempting to kill, various majestic animals. I do realize this is a different time when hunting big game was not as controversial as it is today, since there probably weren't in place rules, or at least not as many, protecting endangered animals as there are today. However, I had a hard time coming to terms with that. This is well-written, I will grant you that, but it is not something I am likely to read again. I do need to reread and read for the first time his other works, so I am not left with this as my most recent read by Hemingway.

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