Archive | 10:17 AM

Book Club Reflection: The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway

3 Nov

My book club met to talk about a book I read a few years back, The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway. I decided not to re-read it since I thought I remembered it reasonably well and I sometimes enjoy sitting back and listening to what other people say rather than participating. I was a little shocked at how much people disliked this book, which I remember fondly.

Many people didn’t like the book. Many felt that the people were depressing, spoiled, and plain terrible. They drank a lot and one reader commented that if you skipped the drinking scenes, there wasn’t much left in the book. Though there was agreement that Jake was the best character in the book because he was kind, unlike many of the other characters.

This group read Paula McLain’s The Paris Wife a few years ago and the life portrayed in the book is much like what we get in The Sun Also Rises. This generation had lost it’s direction in life and was trying to escape. The men of the time were sold on war being the way they could save the world and the experience many of them had wasn’t what they expected. They saw death and felt that life was fleeting. A similar thing happened more recently in Vietnam. One reader commented that the returning soldiers saw that life was pointless, much like this book.

We debated why this book is still popular. It built a mystique around Hemingway and this book was very similar to his life and reflected his personality. His technique is also very unique and has not been replicated widely with success. His word choice is very simplistic and it forces you to imagine the scene and background.

Hopefully we enjoy our next book more. With the way the pandemic is heading, it looks like we’ll remain virtual for quite a while. Until next time, write on.

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