2015 will be the year of Hemingway for me. I had a brief literary affair with this handsome man during college, and need to get reacquainted. I want to read The Paris Wife again and fully appreciate the story. Thinking I ought to begin with short stories, I grabbed my old edition of the Nick Adams Stories, but instead decided to read something new. The Snows of Kilimanjaro worked. Short enough for a long afternoon of reading, and yet Hemingway was there, present on every single page.
Harry and his wife are on safari. Harry is dying. The couple argue about the exact nature of the accident that caused the injury to his leg which ultimately turned gangrenous. They argue about everything. He knows he's dying, she says he's not. He knows that a plane rescue in not imminent, she says it is.
Perhaps it is the fever that causes Harry to relive adventures form his past, all of which clearly parallel those things that were most important to Hemingway himself. First, Harry is a writer - a journalist - whose job has taken him to places of great adventure. The story arcs on two levels, the dying Harry thread, and the recounting of bullfights, big game hunting and romance. Most of the romances grow out of loneliness or desperation with the lovers playing chilly games of jab and run - catch me if you can. Harry had exhilarating highs, especially when intentionally creeping close to danger. His lows were just as deep.
I like Hemingway's style. Nothing fancy. He writes in a straightforward, bold way. His words are sometimes rough and the dialogue can be raw. His is a world unfamiliar to me, but it still is a real world with real people. Hopefully, I will discover enough in his novels to help me understand the intensity of the love he left behind which is the premise of The Paris Wife.
Well, I guess that's my New Year's resolution all tied up nicely well in advance of the bell ringing and singing of Auld Lang Syne. We'll see how this goes.
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