Ernest Hemingway, like all writers, signifies distinct issues to different men and women. To some, he represents a hunting, drinking, smoking, womanizing machismo that is offputting — to say the least. To my high-college thoughts, he was just some old white guy going on about a crusty fisherman desperate to snag a marlin — even though Ms. Fredericks, my English teacher, had forced us to read The Old Man and the Sea, I didn’t come to appreciate it, nor any of Hemingway’s books, till considerably later.
But in my early 20s, an individual mailed me a dusty copy of Hemingway’s very first novel, The Sun Also Rises. I’d by no means read anything very like it — and haven’t since.
Nowadays marks the 90th anniversary of the publication of that book. A masterpiece of the type, The Sun Also Rises is a uncommon feat in its energy and restraint, its terse but evocative sentences making a powerful impression as I was starting to hone in on my personal adore of words: “Don’t you ever get the feeling that all your life is going by and you’re not taking benefit of it?” a single character asks narrator Jake, an American newspaper reporter. “Do you comprehend you’ve lived nearly half the time you have to live already?”
None of Hemingway’s other works, although some were excellent and even fantastic, quite captured the concept of desire and longing that his debut does. But there’s also a blatant sadness that permeates the entire novel, which, in truth, is what attracted me a lot more than anything. How could these depressed and oftentimes insufferable socialites be drawn so beautifully? And how on earth could such easy, stripped down prose carry this kind of emotional weight? Nathaniel Hawthorne says it best: “Easy reading is damn challenging writing.”
But for me, it really is a lot far more than that. When I read The Sun Also Rises – and I go back to it every single couple of years — I’m quickly transported to Pamplona, exactly where Hemingway’s characters go to watch the bullfights. I visited Pamplona as a kid with my loved ones, and I also watched the bullfights, with my father — who in all honesty does not deserve any more mention than that.
Except for the truth that he was the one particular who randomly sent me this wonderful book, much more than a decade soon after we’d lost touch.
The Sun Also Rises, a title taken from Ecclesiastes, is like its author in that it signifies various issues to distinct folks. Positive, some may well say that A Farewell to Arms is a much better book, or that For Whom the Bell Tolls is a more sophisticated piece of literature, but they are wrong. And that is in element simply because they did not visit Pamplona at a particular age, nor receive a random gift when they were young and impressionable, or they simply weren’t open adequate to be floored by what Hemingway was carrying out with language and, dear God, dialogue.
The Sun Also Rises centers on the inner lives of that now-infamous group Gertrude Stein known as the “Lost Generation,” but like all books it also holds private which means for every single reader. Its pages make me recall the noise of a crowd cheering on a brave matador, the expectation I felt as a boy, even the dizzying smell of blood in the air. They remind me of my father, who by no means gave me much much more than this perfect novel, which you might say is a hell of a lot.