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30 review for In Our Time

  1. 4 out of 5

    Jim Fonseca

    Hemingway’s first published work, a collection of short short stories, really 18 vignettes. You can read this book in a half-hour because almost all are less than a page. Here we see an introduction to many of the themes that Hemingway would carry through to later works. We meet Nick, a wounded soldier who is probably the Nick of the Nick Adams short stories and the novel, In Another Country. There’s a lot of drinking. In the very first story we meet a battery of French soldiers on their way to th Hemingway’s first published work, a collection of short short stories, really 18 vignettes. You can read this book in a half-hour because almost all are less than a page. Here we see an introduction to many of the themes that Hemingway would carry through to later works. We meet Nick, a wounded soldier who is probably the Nick of the Nick Adams short stories and the novel, In Another Country. There’s a lot of drinking. In the very first story we meet a battery of French soldiers on their way to the front. All are drunk, especially the leader. Nick has been shot in the spine, but the narrator tells us that things are “going well.” Several stories involve matadors getting gored, dying, getting crap thrown at them in the ring - or all three. One is autobiographical. A wounded American soldier falls in love with his Italian nurse. They agree she will come to the States and marry him. Instead, when he’s back home, he gets a Dear John letter. This is exactly what happened to Hemingway when he fell in love with his Italian nurse after we was wounded in Italy and was recovering in a hospital in Milan. Two solders talk about making “a separate peace,” a title later used in John Knowles’ famous novel. There is a lot of violence, appearing random, disconnected and place-less. Four German soldiers climbing over a garden wall are shot one by one. Six cabinet ministers are lined up against a hospital wall and shot. We don’t know what country, who they were, or who shot them. An American soldier shoots and kills two Hungarians robbing a cigar store, apparently just because they were “wops.” In a county jail in the US, five men are hanged, three of them Negroes. A man wounded and immersed in fighting begs and makes promises to Jesus to get him out. He gets out and forgets his promises by nightfall. Are these good stories? Yes and no. They are typical Hemingway but too short, even for short stories, to make much out of them or to develop any feeling for the characters. Still worth a read. Top photo from unsplash.com Middle photo of WW I soldiers from knowledge.ca Hemingway's 1923 passport photo from wikipedia

  2. 4 out of 5

    Dave Schaafsma

    “In the early morning on the lake sitting in the stern of the boat with his father rowing, he felt quite sure he would never die”—Hemingway, “Indian Camp” “Dear Jesus, please get me out. Christ, please, please, please, Christ. If you only keep me from being killed I'll do anything you say. I believe in you and I'll tell everybody in the world that you are the only thing that matters. Please, please, dear Jesus' The shelling moved further up the line. We went to work on the trench and in the morni “In the early morning on the lake sitting in the stern of the boat with his father rowing, he felt quite sure he would never die”—Hemingway, “Indian Camp” “Dear Jesus, please get me out. Christ, please, please, please, Christ. If you only keep me from being killed I'll do anything you say. I believe in you and I'll tell everybody in the world that you are the only thing that matters. Please, please, dear Jesus' The shelling moved further up the line. We went to work on the trench and in the morning the sun came up and the day was hot and muggy and cheerful and quiet. The next night back at Mestre he did not tell the girl he went upstairs with at the Villa Rosa about Jesus. And he never told anybody”--Hemingway In Our Time is a book I have read several times over the years. In my view, Hemingway is one of the greatest writers of all time. Certainly one of the most influential writers, in terms of style, a kind of tough-minded minimalism that allows for very little commentary, few adverbs. Not flowery or “showing off” as he would have said; straightforward, simple, direct prose. Hem started out as a journalist and maybe his style in part extends out of that reporter’s call for description/observation, in a just-the-facts, ma’am approach. Depictions of women are problematic, of course. He married many women, he slept with many more. That energy, the fame, who knows why? But I can guess at it through a reading of the prose, those central characters. The joie de vivre and the anguish. And I love the central great novels—The Sun Also Rises, A Farewell to Arms, For Whom the Bell Tolls, Old Man and The Sea—but the real gems are the stories, which I am re-reading. A couple weeks ago I was heading to northern Wisconsin for a short vacation, so thought to begin re-reading In Our Time, his second book, because it is a north country book. Tomorrow I head for a few days to northern Michigan, to the exact geographical area of these stories—the Petoskey, Michigan region, and the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, where Hem spent his early summers. I have a photograph I recently found of my mother holding me in her arms when I was four months old, near Lake Manistique in the U. P. where I stayed in a cabin every year in the summer for more than thirty years with my family. Hem traveled each summer from Oak Park, Illinois where he lived and I now live, to this area in the north where his family had a cottage. The construction of this book is unique, experimental, even now, mostly short short stories, some of them 2-3 pages, set in northern Michigan interspersed with even shorter vignettes set in WWI where Hem had served as an ambulance driver. The (mostly) war stories depict violence; there’s a couple of bullfighting he would have seen in Spain in the early twenties. The domestic stories are the Nick Adams stories, about nature, hunting, fishing, backpacking, skiing, mother and father, friends, drinking, girls. In general one might be tempted to call this Hemingways’s tales of Innocence and Experience, a record of contrasts, but there is trauma in both the Michigan and European stories. Reading them this time I see these early stories as gems—not all of them amazingly good, but he is already the model in these stories for generations of writers all over the world. What I am reading in the stories now is a prophecy of what is to come: There’s early drinking, early struggles with girls/women, there’s plenty of depression (though in my early reading I might have thought of it as a kind of existential brooding). There is plenty of unhappiness in these stories, yes, and at one point Nick asks his father about suicide, which Hem committed in 1961, after having won the Nobel Prize in 1953. A lifelong struggle with depression leading to suicide, and you can see this in the stories. It was always there for him, a family history of depression and suicide. But the style is wonderful, in the early gems, especially, “The Three Day Blow,” about a break-up with a girl Nick was nearly engaged to; “My Old Man,” a heart-breaking story about a boy’s admiration for his jockey father, who as he got older became corrupt, involved in “funny” business; “Soldier’s Home,” about Nick’s coming home from the war, depressed and alienated, changed; and the wonderful trout-fishing story, “Big Two-Hearted River” (it’s in the U.P., but it’s a lie, a fisherman never reveals his fishing holes; this isn’t his favorite fishing river); "Indian Camp," where Nick's father delivers a baby by c-section with less than adequate resources, let's just say. Not all the stories are great here, but the few great stories hold up the collection as great, and the experimental concept is also great, overcoming some slighter, earlier stories. And there is everywhere his style, his irony, his barely contained emotions, his darkness and isolation.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Steven Godin

    Hot on the heels of reading 'The Sun Also Rises' & 'A Moveable Feast' (loved them both), I couldn't resist trying some of his short fiction. I had read the odd Hemingway short-story before, but this my first collection, and I wasn't disappointed. Basically this is the book that thrust Hem into the limelight, and set him on a path to write some of the 20th century's best known novels. His style is again a sparse, simple but efficient prose that works so well, and he has that knack similar to Rich Hot on the heels of reading 'The Sun Also Rises' & 'A Moveable Feast' (loved them both), I couldn't resist trying some of his short fiction. I had read the odd Hemingway short-story before, but this my first collection, and I wasn't disappointed. Basically this is the book that thrust Hem into the limelight, and set him on a path to write some of the 20th century's best known novels. His style is again a sparse, simple but efficient prose that works so well, and he has that knack similar to Richard Yates of easily conveying deep emotions within a matter of minutes through the great use of dialogue. There is mixture of experimentation and autobiographical elements with themes Hemingway would return to in his later writings - that of war and returning from war, bullfighting, hunting, fishing, difficulties of marriage, and disappointments. One of his strongest attributes here is exploring moral values. Some vignettes / stories connect characters, some don't. All though are classic Hemingway. The pick of the bunch for me were - 'The End of Something', 'Soldier's Home', 'Out of Season', and 'My Old Man'.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Natalie Monroe

    I have a deep, unabiding dislike of Hemingway's style. It's sparse, it's soulless, and reads like it was written by a third-grader who just learned to construct sentences. Whether you like him or not, have a gifset of Nick Miller trying to be Hemingway: I have a deep, unabiding dislike of Hemingway's style. It's sparse, it's soulless, and reads like it was written by a third-grader who just learned to construct sentences. Whether you like him or not, have a gifset of Nick Miller trying to be Hemingway:

  5. 4 out of 5

    Lena

    Nope. Too boring for me. Don't know what I was expecting but this is not what I usually like. Nope. Too boring for me. Don't know what I was expecting but this is not what I usually like.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Jason

    Short review on short stories. I would amend those 3 stars down to 2.5 stars. These short stories are credited with being the turning point for Hemingway, having made him famous. This is why I chose them for my next Hemingway read. On the stories themselves. Most of them were a bit bland, not a lot happened in them, and they lacked a certain emotion. There were a couple, however, that I enjoyed - The End of Something, Cross-Country Snow were good. Although these two stories were only a few pages Short review on short stories. I would amend those 3 stars down to 2.5 stars. These short stories are credited with being the turning point for Hemingway, having made him famous. This is why I chose them for my next Hemingway read. On the stories themselves. Most of them were a bit bland, not a lot happened in them, and they lacked a certain emotion. There were a couple, however, that I enjoyed - The End of Something, Cross-Country Snow were good. Although these two stories were only a few pages in length, they did manage to portray emotion, which seemed to bring the pages to life. And regarding his writing. It is of course unique. Once in a while he inserts a brief sentence of only a few words, and it's like being punched in the gut, having the result of really pulling you into the story. Something I noticed that distracted me while reading was his use of the adjective 'very.' He overuses it, even in his dialogue. Hemingway's use of dialogue in these stories was hit and miss. Some stories were well done, others I found the dialogue unnatural. I think, though, that this is likely a reflection of living a century apart. There are obviously going to be colloquialisms a part of 20th century language that don't hold true today. Next stop on the Hemingway train for me: The Sun Also Rises.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Joshua Rigsby

    In Our Time, much like Hemingway's Farewell to Arms, is a meditation on suffering. Between the short stories, half page vignettes illustrate tableaus of violence and death taken from fleeing refugees, the bull rings of Spain, and the collapsing monarchies of Europe. My favorite linked sections of this book followed Nick Adams, in part because his story is full of intriguing holes, and in part because much that concerns him here is so banal and slow in contrast to the vignettes. One gets the s In Our Time, much like Hemingway's Farewell to Arms, is a meditation on suffering. Between the short stories, half page vignettes illustrate tableaus of violence and death taken from fleeing refugees, the bull rings of Spain, and the collapsing monarchies of Europe. My favorite linked sections of this book followed Nick Adams, in part because his story is full of intriguing holes, and in part because much that concerns him here is so banal and slow in contrast to the vignettes. One gets the sense that Nick is holding a great well of experience inside him, that trout fishing in a river is a great relief from the anxiety of his memories. Interesting too, on the topic of death and violence, was the means by which the author met his own end. Particularly when the following passage from "Indian Camp" speaks to it directly. Why did he kill himself, Daddy?" "I don't know, Nick. He couldn't stand things, I guess." "Do many men kill themselves, Daddy?" "Not very many, Nick." "Do many women?" "Hardly ever." "Don't they ever?" "Oh, yes. They do sometimes." "Daddy?" "Yes." "Where did Uncle George go?" "He'll turn up all right." "Is dying hard, Daddy?" "No, I think it's pretty easy, Nick. It all depends." They were seated in the boat, Nick in the stern, his father rowing. The sun was coming up over the hills. A bass jumped, making a circle in the water. Nick trailed his hand in the water. It felt warm in the sharp chill of the morning. In the early morning on the lake sitting in the stern of the boat with his father rowing, he felt quite sure that he would never die.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Brad

    As I am now part of an Ernest Hemingway Short Story book club, I will write reviews of the stories that strike my fancy and add them to the books from whence they came. Cat in the Rain -- This story represents one of my favourite aspects of Hemingway's work -- his simplicity. There is nothing, and I mean nothing, superfluous in Cat in the Rain. Every word is purposefully placed for its ability to invoke emotion or conjure an image. Reading Cat in the Rain can transport you to another time and pla As I am now part of an Ernest Hemingway Short Story book club, I will write reviews of the stories that strike my fancy and add them to the books from whence they came. Cat in the Rain -- This story represents one of my favourite aspects of Hemingway's work -- his simplicity. There is nothing, and I mean nothing, superfluous in Cat in the Rain. Every word is purposefully placed for its ability to invoke emotion or conjure an image. Reading Cat in the Rain can transport you to another time and place: to a square near the ocean in Italy during an afternoon rainstorm. But don't just read it once on the page, read it again out loud and be dazzled by the rhythms of the rain that Hemingway embeds in the staccato dripping and dropping and dripping and dropping of his words. He repeats and repeats to make the rain come alive, and unless you read it out loud you can't hear it. Then when the American girl and her husband talk you can hear truth that few other authors are willing to attempt, and even fewer can achieve with so little said. They love, they want, they are, but the distance between them makes us wonder if they do any of those things together. And all of this comes down to a cat in the rain, tightening itself into a little ball beneath a cafe table so that no water will touch its fur. Papa could write.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Brian

    Hemingway's minimalist writing style is polarizing - this isn't news. His sparse sentences, staccato pacing and seemingly adjective free narratives aren't for everybody. But if you like this type of writing, this book of stories is for you. This is the first time in reading Hemingway that it dawned on my just how much like poetry his writing can be (I'm slow - my GR friends have probably written thesis on this). Here's an example, with line breaks at each period: He did not want any consequences He Hemingway's minimalist writing style is polarizing - this isn't news. His sparse sentences, staccato pacing and seemingly adjective free narratives aren't for everybody. But if you like this type of writing, this book of stories is for you. This is the first time in reading Hemingway that it dawned on my just how much like poetry his writing can be (I'm slow - my GR friends have probably written thesis on this). Here's an example, with line breaks at each period: He did not want any consequences He did not want any consequences ever again He wanted to live along without consequences Besides he did not really need a girl The army had taught him that It was all right to pose as though you had to have a girl Nearly everybody did that But it wasn't true You did not need a girl That was the funny thing

  10. 4 out of 5

    Dan Douglas

    I don't agree with those who try to discredit Hemingway as a mediocre writer. I have talked with and read reviews by these people and I understand their criticisms but their points could apply to any writer. Also, and maybe more importantly, they don't like his false macho affectation. Okayyy. That's fair. But to go so far as to argue that the shouldn't be remembered as a great writer is just plain silly. Have these people never had a tight-lipped uncle who liked to go fishing? Or a brother who I don't agree with those who try to discredit Hemingway as a mediocre writer. I have talked with and read reviews by these people and I understand their criticisms but their points could apply to any writer. Also, and maybe more importantly, they don't like his false macho affectation. Okayyy. That's fair. But to go so far as to argue that the shouldn't be remembered as a great writer is just plain silly. Have these people never had a tight-lipped uncle who liked to go fishing? Or a brother who got into too many fist fights? Apparently not. OK, rant over. In Our Time is one of Hemingway's immortal books. It was his first, a collection of short stories which was like nothing else that came before it. It's hard to believe it was published in 1924, the age of Sinclair Lewis and Edith Wharton. These stories are like little gusts of Chekhovian sweetness. There are great moments of tenderness and tragedy that seem impossible to fit in the space Hemingway manages. Each one seems to be overflowing. Like it wants to say more but knows it shouldn't. I love stories like this and that's maybe why I am able to give Hemingway the benefit of the doubt overall. Insofar as he is an American Chekhov, I really love his writing. And this is the golden age in Hemingway's career for this sort of thing. At the time of its publication New York Times called "In Our Time," fibrous and athletic, colloquial and fresh, hard and clean, his very prose seems to have an organic being of its own. I think they were right. Had he continued along this line, and avoided his later self-imitations and "sentimentality," I think he would have been a far better writer, and much lesser known. To me, the bottom line for what makes Hemingway a worthwhile read is that--although his attempts are not always perfect--he makes literature un-literary. "Literature" at its best is always fresh, coming back down to earth to see how things are going and how people are talking to one another, and then going back up for air. Literature that never comes down to earth, but stays suspended in academia, or in esoteric little hipster sanctuaries of trendiness and high-mindedness, never connects for me. I hate those books. In college I once had a life-defining conversation with an old girlfriend of mine. We were debating whether or not everyone has the ability to have deep thoughts. She said no, not everyone has deep thoughts. I said yes, I think they do--many people just don't know how to talk about them or they'd rather not talk about them. She said she didn't think so. She said there are some people out there, beer-guzzling mouth-breathers, who, honest-to-goodness, just don't produce a single profundity their entire lives. They just sit around and take up oxygen. I said I didn't see it that way. The topic never came up again, and we broke up after only a few months of dating. Fast forward three years. Walking around campus one morning, I ran into her again. I hadn't really seen or talked to her for those three years. The conversation was awkward at first. We shifted our weight back and forth. She asked me what I was reading. I said Hemingway. She laughed. Now, she was loosened up. She said isn't his stuff pretty simple and macho? Yes, I said. But there's a lot there if you're willing to look for it. Well, she said she didn't think she'd ever get around to reading him.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Alan Teder

    Free In Our Time Review of the AmazonClassics Kindle eBook edition (2021) of the Boni & Liveright original In Our Time (1925) The Hemingway industry shows no signs of slowing down, even as we approach the centenary of his first published works. His forever publisher Scribner will issue yet another repackaging of short stories The Hemingway Stories: As Featured in the Film by Ken Burns and Lynn Novick on PBS (expected March 2, 2021) to coincide with a new 6-hour documentary on PBS (expected April 5 Free In Our Time Review of the AmazonClassics Kindle eBook edition (2021) of the Boni & Liveright original In Our Time (1925) The Hemingway industry shows no signs of slowing down, even as we approach the centenary of his first published works. His forever publisher Scribner will issue yet another repackaging of short stories The Hemingway Stories: As Featured in the Film by Ken Burns and Lynn Novick on PBS (expected March 2, 2021) to coincide with a new 6-hour documentary on PBS (expected April 5, 2021). The projected 16 volume / 20 year project of the Complete Letters of Ernest Hemingway is only up to The Letters of Ernest Hemingway: Volume 5, 1932-1934: 1932-1934 as of 2020. The Ernest Hemingway Library Edition of reissues expanded with early drafts and deletions is perhaps only a third of its way to completion. A seemingly infinite number of biographies continue to be written with The Man Who Wasn't There: A Life of Ernest Hemingway (2020) and Ernesto: The Untold Story of Hemingway in Revolutionary Cuba (2019) being the most recent. AmazonClassics have gotten in on the act by issuing a Kindle only reissue of the 1925 Boni & Liveright edition of the "In Our Time" vignettes and short stories. They call it the "New York edition" to distinguish it from the original 1924 Paris chapbook edition in our time (lower-case letter title) which contained only the original 18 vignettes. This first American edition added 14 short stories, expanded 2 original vignettes into short stories and used the 16 remaining vignettes as inter-chapters. When Scribner took over Hemingway's publishing it added an additional short story "On the Quai at Smyrna" for the 1930 American edition In Our Time. Hemingway's early short stories are among my favourites of his writing. Any collection with Indian Camp, The Battler, Soldier's Home, Cat in the Rain, Out of Season and Big Two-Hearted River will rate an easy 5-stars from me. In Our Time also acts as somewhat of a novel-in-short-stories as 7 of the 14 have the Hemingway proxy character of Nick Adams as their explicit protagonist and several of the others would seem to have Hemingway/Adams as an anonymous or renamed character. The overall arc takes Nick from the immortality of childhood in the face of death seen in Indian Camp through to the chastened world-weary Adams returned from the horrors of World War I and seeking revitalization while fishing in the Big Two-Hearted River. “Is dying hard, Daddy?” “No, I think it’s pretty easy, Nick. It all depends.” They were seated in the boat, Nick in the stern, his father rowing. The sun was coming up over the hills. A bass jumped, making a circle in the water. Nick trailed his hand in the water. It felt warm in the sharp chill of the morning. In the early morning on the lake sitting in the stern of the boat with his father rowing, he felt quite sure that he would never die. - excerpt from Indian CampHe walked along the road feeling the ache from the pull of the heavy pack. The road climbed steadily. It was hard work walking up-hill. His muscles ached and the day was hot, but Nick felt happy. He felt he had left everything behind, the need for thinking, the need to write, other needs. It was all back of him. - excerpt from Big Two-Hearted River Trivia and Link I read In Our Time (1925) in its AmazonClassics edition which is available free for Amazon Prime members through Amazon Kindle https://www.amazon.com/b?node=1866070... (link is to Amazon USA, although I used Amazon Canada).

  12. 5 out of 5

    Lise Petrauskas

    Wow. I am surprised by how much I enjoyed this. My favorite stories are the two Big-hearted River stories at the end. Since I wrote that, I have been trying to understand why this book has such meaning for me and I still don't have words. Hemingway gets me, I think. Or, his getting himself down on paper, the way his characters feel and react to both extreme and mundane circumstances, is fundamental to humanity, so fundamental that it's difficult articulate and seeing any approach to such articula Wow. I am surprised by how much I enjoyed this. My favorite stories are the two Big-hearted River stories at the end. Since I wrote that, I have been trying to understand why this book has such meaning for me and I still don't have words. Hemingway gets me, I think. Or, his getting himself down on paper, the way his characters feel and react to both extreme and mundane circumstances, is fundamental to humanity, so fundamental that it's difficult articulate and seeing any approach to such articulation feels like a sudden intimacy between us, as though he really does get me. The feeling of interior similarity I get, especially in the last two stories, to Nick, is like a friendship. It makes me happy. To be happy in the circumstances in our time, after having experienced the extremities of what there is to experience in our time, is pretty freaking special and beautiful and rare and to be cherished. I think that's why I love this so much. Somehow the simplicity and accuracy of the language and the honesty of emotion without much extra cerebral interference has created a perhaps unlikely friendship between Hem and me. Also, I really dig mountains and streams and trees and earth and Hem does too, so that helps.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Michael

    Hemingway at his most experimental. A fantastic book, written before he was "Hemingway." Hemingway at his most experimental. A fantastic book, written before he was "Hemingway."

  14. 4 out of 5

    Anne

    I had been going along in my English major career under the assumption that Hemingway just wouldn't be my cup of tea. His reputation, from what I'd heard, was (and still is) one which championed the art of gritty narrative, the bare-bones of a structured plot, and fast-paced, uncensored dialogue. I had read a few of his short stories, and while I acknowledged their strength in minimalism and simplicity, I was never blown away by anything he wrote. Critical enthusiasm for his work was lost on me. I had been going along in my English major career under the assumption that Hemingway just wouldn't be my cup of tea. His reputation, from what I'd heard, was (and still is) one which championed the art of gritty narrative, the bare-bones of a structured plot, and fast-paced, uncensored dialogue. I had read a few of his short stories, and while I acknowledged their strength in minimalism and simplicity, I was never blown away by anything he wrote. Critical enthusiasm for his work was lost on me. I didn't get it. Until I read this book. Now, I love Hemingway. But my affection for the former journalist and WWI ambulance driver has not sprung from the same well of fondness most English majors draw from. All this talk of his prose being "lean" and "tough"; the "sparse" characters; the basic and unpretentious syntax; these kinds of comments provoked nose-wrinkles, slanted eyebrows and internal eye-rolling from my past, Hemingway-less self. These criticisms demean the thought behind beauty of his writing! They imply barbarism towards language, as if Hemingway turned away from complexity out of rebellion or spite! Stuff and nonsense. Hemingway is hardly the hero of simplicity for simplicity's sake. Each sentence, although written in the thorough vernacular, is deliberately crafted and scientifically weighted for and within the story. The short, descriptive and declarative sentences carry a certain gentleness -- inimitable and kind, manifesting that certain calmness necessary for truth-telling. Hemingway is unclouded, not harsh. The narrative is loyal to events, not emotion. It's genius. For all you readers avoiding Hemingway because of his cut-and-dry reputation, I am here to clarify the situation. There is so much more to notice and appreciate in his writing besides its obvious lack of clauses, semi-colons, adverbs and SAT vocabulary. Look for the courage, the sadness, and the joy found in these simple stories, and pause your life. Set the book down. Take a deep breath. Just feel like a human.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Xavier

    After watching Ken Burns's wonderful PBS documentary Hemingway, I decided to give the infamous author a try. I was astonished -- the man lived such an amazing and daring life only for it to come to a miserable and tragic end. I read in class a couple of years ago his short work A Clean, Well-Lighted Place and I must admit I was not blown away. His writing didn't capture me. I didn't appreciate the simplicity. So after watching the film I drove over to the library. And I'm glad I did. The book is After watching Ken Burns's wonderful PBS documentary Hemingway, I decided to give the infamous author a try. I was astonished -- the man lived such an amazing and daring life only for it to come to a miserable and tragic end. I read in class a couple of years ago his short work A Clean, Well-Lighted Place and I must admit I was not blown away. His writing didn't capture me. I didn't appreciate the simplicity. So after watching the film I drove over to the library. And I'm glad I did. The book is a short collection of vignettes that follow the life of a man named Nick. We meet him as a young boy when he witnesses death for the first time and then follow as he becomes a veteran of WW1. Most of the stories are snapshots of a moment in time, where almost nothing significant occurs. It's Hemingway's straightforwardness that brings these moments to life, without the need for flowery prose. He paints the scene on the canvas of the minds eye wonderfully; the flowing rivers, the leaves blowing in the wind, the creaking of old wooden floors. Its these moments that bring the vignettes to life. I plan on reading his other works chronologically. If his other books are like this then he will have gained a new fan.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Shannon Pufahl

    Hemingway's first book, and much literary labor has gone into its interpretation, particularly of the structure. Stories that feel more or less complete are set against italicized vignettes of war, bullfighting, and other acts of masculine heroism. Characters are not shared from story to vignette (though many of the full-length stories are about Nick Adams, famously) and often protagonists and narrators are not named. Critics wonder how to read these vignettes, which are generally outside time a Hemingway's first book, and much literary labor has gone into its interpretation, particularly of the structure. Stories that feel more or less complete are set against italicized vignettes of war, bullfighting, and other acts of masculine heroism. Characters are not shared from story to vignette (though many of the full-length stories are about Nick Adams, famously) and often protagonists and narrators are not named. Critics wonder how to read these vignettes, which are generally outside time and do not build in a linear or conventionally narrative way. The stories, by contrast, begin in Adams' childhood, and though not all the stories involve Adams, his maturation -- through failed romance, war, and pilgrimage -- nevertheless make up the collection's true heart. Hemingway himself claimed that the collection was arranged in a deliberate and careful way, meant to evoke themes of alienation in the new century (In Our Time was originally published in 1924), the rearrangement of borders (both geographic and psychological) by war, and the emotional costs of masculine performance (of which war is an example). Hemingway is very often critiqued for his misogyny and treatment of female characters, and I won't attempt to correct this perception -- such critiques are certainly supportable. However, I tend to read Hemingway as very critical of the conventionally masculine, and I think the vignettes about war, bullfighting, and other acts of violence are there to cast into greater relief the experiences of Adams and other (male) protagonists in the full stories, whose experiences are, in essence, about the damage caused by violence and stoicism, and the losses, confusions, and sorrows caused by limited emotional language. Yes, women in these stories have full lives only insofar as they relate to men, and much of the content and circumstances are white, male, American (baseball, fishing, whisky). But there are still (in 2019, nearly 100 years later) plenty of story collections and novels that get a lot of play and attention, about those very things, and without the kind of critique offered by Hemingway, via the vignettes. Perhaps we dismiss Hemingway for the responses of his readers (often true, for writers) who saw his work as "about" fishing or bullfighting or wine-drinking. Or perhaps because his critique was too measured or artful, and in that way arguable or ambiguous, even totally ineffective -- perhaps because he's not good at women or race, to say the least -- perhaps because he failed to change the meaning of fishing, fighting, wine-drinking, and we had to endure the men who came after him, whose work is often characterized by violence as regeneration, by sexual deprivation as sincere spiritual affliction (Discuss: is Rabbit Angstrom's main problem that he doesn't feel sufficiently laid? Is he the original InCel?). Unanswerable questions, or answerable only through contention, a mode which feels increasingly irrelevant, by virtue of being mostly performed. My view, though, is that this book is Hemingway's most strident critique of the masculine (as the thing that makes war, that demands large and small-scale violence in order be expressed, that seems to make that violence itself personally or culturally meaningful), and that the structure bears out this reading. Part One of "The Big Two-Hearted River" is some of the best writing about the long arc of trauma, then or now. Later, books like The Old Man and the Sea will glorify more than critique, but here Hemingway has not lost the thread yet. Essential reading.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Sean

    Unlike This Side of Paradise, this was a pretty good start for Hemingway. I wouldn't recommend it to someone looking to get into his work, though. The first few stories were the best ones before it proceeds to get weaker and weaker. The last three held little of my attention. "Indian Camp" I would say was my favorite. But overall much of Hemingway's style is just budding in these texts. He didn't yet know how to say something beautiful and terse. The interludes between chapters were interesting, Unlike This Side of Paradise, this was a pretty good start for Hemingway. I wouldn't recommend it to someone looking to get into his work, though. The first few stories were the best ones before it proceeds to get weaker and weaker. The last three held little of my attention. "Indian Camp" I would say was my favorite. But overall much of Hemingway's style is just budding in these texts. He didn't yet know how to say something beautiful and terse. The interludes between chapters were interesting, and I thought them a clever device to provide atmosphere for the time. The last two stories, "The Big Two Hearted River" part one and two was as intriguing as describing the minutia of setting up a camp and fishing can be in very plain prose. I've never enjoyed Hemingway when he describes landscape because it often amounts to naming the features of the land, whether it was on the left or the right, naming trees and location. But the end of the collection is designed to show Nick Adams rejuvenating himself after the war, which messed him up, but it is just not captivating. A few moments we can glimpse at the internal struggle, but that's it, not worth the 20 pages. On a side note, I'm sure this all would have been far more important in its time, with certain assumptions within the culture, as well as being one of the few writers it seems to write about the trauma of the Great War. But I'm not one to laud all works by an author because he has been deemed a genius.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Jenny Napolitano

    Any review I write here is going to make me sound stupid. Somehow I left it not really having enjoyed it, but having renewed my appreciation for Hemingway's writing (though not necessarily his skills of positioning stories in a collection - even though I'm still not convinced that's the best word to describe this). Any review I write here is going to make me sound stupid. Somehow I left it not really having enjoyed it, but having renewed my appreciation for Hemingway's writing (though not necessarily his skills of positioning stories in a collection - even though I'm still not convinced that's the best word to describe this).

  19. 4 out of 5

    Laura

    Free download available at Project Gutenberg Free download available at Project Gutenberg

  20. 4 out of 5

    Eric

    I wish I’d been assigned this in high school. At 17 I was mad for Lorca, and would have loved Hemingway’s gory sportsman’s sketches— Inside on a wooden bunk lay a young Indian woman. She had been trying to have her baby for two days. All the old women in the camp had been helping her. The men had moved off up the road to sit in the dark and smoke cut of range of the noise she made. She screamed just as Nick and the two Indians followed his father and Uncle George into the shanty. She lay in the l I wish I’d been assigned this in high school. At 17 I was mad for Lorca, and would have loved Hemingway’s gory sportsman’s sketches— Inside on a wooden bunk lay a young Indian woman. She had been trying to have her baby for two days. All the old women in the camp had been helping her. The men had moved off up the road to sit in the dark and smoke cut of range of the noise she made. She screamed just as Nick and the two Indians followed his father and Uncle George into the shanty. She lay in the lower bunk, very big under a quilt. Her head was turned to one side. In the upper bunk was her husband. He had cut his foot very badly with an ax three days before. He was smoking a pipe. The room smelled very bad. —as I loved Lorca’s dark suites, daggers, and duende. Each guy elaborated a pervy poetics of bullfighting. The storylets about tense couples did little for me, though I usually enjoy “the ominous banality of human behavior in situations of emotional strain”--Wilson nails it--when I find it in, say, Eleven Kinds of Loneliness. I exempt from this opinion Nick and Marjorie’s fishing trip/breakup--that was good. I liked it when Nick, riding the rails, finds the ex-prizefighter and his man Bugs--a regular Huck-Jim duo--bumming out in the woods away from regular folks because the scarred old boxer gets into scrapes; and when George, dreading his return to school in “Cross-Country Snow,” asks Nick, “don’t you wish we could just bum together?” The allure, the boyish compulsion of bumming made me recall the bands of “bummers” that fanned out from Sherman’s columns, to forage and fight, coming back into camp near dark on rustled mounts, with wagonloads of loot, and sweet potatoes and smoked hams. I need to read Huck Finn!

  21. 4 out of 5

    Cecilia H.

    A short review for a bunch of short stories! What I disliked: the racism, the looong short stories with no action and the constant manliness/masculinity. And also this damn iceberg theory/technique Hemingway uses. What if he just wrote some of it when he was drunk and then made people think he wrote it with a deeper meaning??? And we're all being fooled... Just a thought! ;) (I simply got very tired of analyzing and interpreting this book in my English class). What I liked: that some of these stor A short review for a bunch of short stories! What I disliked: the racism, the looong short stories with no action and the constant manliness/masculinity. And also this damn iceberg theory/technique Hemingway uses. What if he just wrote some of it when he was drunk and then made people think he wrote it with a deeper meaning??? And we're all being fooled... Just a thought! ;) (I simply got very tired of analyzing and interpreting this book in my English class). What I liked: that some of these stories actually could be interpreted and were (almost) pretty good...? I didn't hate it, nor did I like it. So I give this short story collection by Ernest Hemingway a 2 stars rating. Yep, that's it people.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Jonfaith

    Most of this stunning collection was a reread for me. I borrowed the collected Nick Adams stories 20 years ago and never returned it: sorry Dr. Kennedy. The structure of In Our Time is a marvel. The pacing and economy have been canonized elsewhere. Having spent most of Friday in the rain, I've been just outside the pale of a cold all weekend. The talons of infirmity appeared so close today. After United's victory at Stamford Bridge I retreated. This collection is a jewel. Most of this stunning collection was a reread for me. I borrowed the collected Nick Adams stories 20 years ago and never returned it: sorry Dr. Kennedy. The structure of In Our Time is a marvel. The pacing and economy have been canonized elsewhere. Having spent most of Friday in the rain, I've been just outside the pale of a cold all weekend. The talons of infirmity appeared so close today. After United's victory at Stamford Bridge I retreated. This collection is a jewel.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Kelly

    I am a Hemingway fan, so it is hard for me to find much fault in his work. I loved these short stories. Some of them really stuck with me. If for nothing else, it should be read just for "The Big-Hearted River." Absolutely brilliant. I am a Hemingway fan, so it is hard for me to find much fault in his work. I loved these short stories. Some of them really stuck with me. If for nothing else, it should be read just for "The Big-Hearted River." Absolutely brilliant.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Huma Rashid

    Uh, who says girls don't love Hemingway? *Kanye Shrug* This is one of my favorite books of all time. OF ALL TIME. Uh, who says girls don't love Hemingway? *Kanye Shrug* This is one of my favorite books of all time. OF ALL TIME.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Shannon

    Hemingway's technique is beautiful. Even reading without effort, you can get a full sense of the things left unsaid, and closer reading shows extreme efficiency of detail. Also a great choice of scenes. I'm still giving it two stars because I couldn't work up enthusiasm for much besides the style - I might just be too far from the post-war era, or Hemingway-style manliness, to fully appreciate it. A Farewell to Arms, with a bit more emotional payoff in addition to style, made a much stronger impr Hemingway's technique is beautiful. Even reading without effort, you can get a full sense of the things left unsaid, and closer reading shows extreme efficiency of detail. Also a great choice of scenes. I'm still giving it two stars because I couldn't work up enthusiasm for much besides the style - I might just be too far from the post-war era, or Hemingway-style manliness, to fully appreciate it. A Farewell to Arms, with a bit more emotional payoff in addition to style, made a much stronger impression on me.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Daniel Villines

    It has been my perception that Hemingway was a better novelist than a short story writer. His style seems to require time for the reader’s imagination to fill in the settings of his plots. My previous exposure to his short stories, however, was in the total collection of his short story works. I read through his "complete collection" from cover to cover without any thought as to how there were originally collected or published. As a result, I missed out on the purpose or picture that In Our Time It has been my perception that Hemingway was a better novelist than a short story writer. His style seems to require time for the reader’s imagination to fill in the settings of his plots. My previous exposure to his short stories, however, was in the total collection of his short story works. I read through his "complete collection" from cover to cover without any thought as to how there were originally collected or published. As a result, I missed out on the purpose or picture that In Our Time conveys as a complete work unto itself. As an image of what the world was and what it had become as we moved through the WWI era, In Our Time is as complete a Hemingway work as any of his novels. The best aspect of this book was Hemingway’s use of vignettes to illustrate what we had become as opposed to the short stories that illustrate what we had been. I thought that the shortness of the vignettes, with all their shocking content, were in sharp harmonic contrast with the longer short stories, which conveyed the feeling of simpler, slower, pre-war times. And as a means of communicating and documenting the effects of WWI, In Our Time may actually be a better book than A Farewell to Arms, when compared with this purpose in mind.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Mary

    It seems a little presumptuous to be reviewing classics, but I recently discovered Open University, an IPad App that lets you “attend” university lectures. The class I chose was a literature class at Yale. The books have been awesome even though the lectures put me to sleep. I mean that literally. The professor’s voice is so smoothing that I fall to sleep holding my Ipad. At any rate, Hemingway’s In Our Time is amazing. The most striking thing about this book is the structure. This book is a coll It seems a little presumptuous to be reviewing classics, but I recently discovered Open University, an IPad App that lets you “attend” university lectures. The class I chose was a literature class at Yale. The books have been awesome even though the lectures put me to sleep. I mean that literally. The professor’s voice is so smoothing that I fall to sleep holding my Ipad. At any rate, Hemingway’s In Our Time is amazing. The most striking thing about this book is the structure. This book is a collection of short stories that have vignettes interspersed between them. The vignettes resemble news stories about war, and the short stories take place between North America and Europe. Characters appear and reappear in and out of these stories causing a somewhat dreamlike impression. In Hemingway fashion, the writing is sparse and pregnant. It reminded me of my high school teachers raving about Hemingway as an author. I am finally old enough to appreciate his writing. Good literature is wasted on the young. I recommend revisiting this quintessentially American writer.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Nicholas Finch

    Third time reading this collection in less than a year. It never gets old. Brilliant. Fifth time. Sixth time.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Malum

    2.5 stars. I like Hemingway's style, but these stories seemed ultimately pointless. For example, there is a long section of one of the stories that just shows a guy making coffee and food and then eating. The only thing that I really felt Hemingway was saying here was how casually we treat violence. All of the violence in the stories just happen without any fanfare, just as if it was a scene of people chatting. 2.5 stars. I like Hemingway's style, but these stories seemed ultimately pointless. For example, there is a long section of one of the stories that just shows a guy making coffee and food and then eating. The only thing that I really felt Hemingway was saying here was how casually we treat violence. All of the violence in the stories just happen without any fanfare, just as if it was a scene of people chatting.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Claire

    As a Hemingway fan I enjoyed this collection. His simple style where every word is needed gives me real reading pleasure. In his short stories this characteristic is even more noticable and some are really short. At the same time I enjoy his novels. Not for the people who dislike Hemingway, for the others I’d say: read it! You’ll enjoy it.

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