For some reason, I’ve always been rather scared to read Ernest Hemingway. I’ve always thought of him (along with Faulkner and Kundera) as an author of difficult to read books although I couldn’t tell you where I got this impression from. Fiesta: The Sun also Rises caught my eye at the £2 bookshop because it’s set in the 20’s and parts of it take place in Paris. I actually think the phrase “Paris in the 20s” could get me to read almost any book.
It turns out, on a somewhat superficial level, it wasn’t hard to read at all. The story is very simple, there’s not terribly much happening and it’s a short book. But I think the merits of the book lie elsewhere. There are so many layers under beneath the simple narrative; I’m considering rereading it just to see how many subtleties I missed the first time around. I think there are a lot of books like that, seemingly simple and perhaps even boring but if you try a bit harder they are revealed to be so very complex. A similar example is The Great Gatsby, its merit is not the story, and if you “lazy-read” you might find it boring, but there’s so much more to be discovered, in my opinion. Actually Trish recently posted some interesting thoughts about this.
I suppose it would have to be a gifted author who could write a seemingly plain story and hide so many things underneath the surface, so that every reader gets something different out of it. It was actually quite incredible how even though the ending was nothing unexpected or mind blowing, with just a simple, devastating final sentence the book managed to break my heart and stay with me for a long time afterwards.
So, Hemingway is kind of awesome and I am certainly keen to read more of his works but, I’m not sure where to start. Do you have any suggestions?