This year, I’ve given myself a challenge of reading more classic literature, specifically from the 1920’s. I’m going to be chronicling my journey through some short reviews in this “Classics Review” series, and if you’re interested in tagging along, read with me!
Novel: A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway | Goodreads
Release Date: 1929
Publisher: (my edition) Scribner
The best American novel to emerge from World War I, A Farewell to Arms is the unforgettable story of an American ambulance driver on the Italian front and his passion for a beautiful English nurse. Hemingway’s frank portrayal of the love between Lieutenant Henry and Catherine Barkley, caught in the inexorable sweep of war, glows with an intensity unrivaled in modern literature, while his description of the German attack on Caporetto—of lines of fired men marching in the rain, hungry, weary, and demoralized—is one of the greatest moments in literary history. A story of love and pain, of loyalty and desertion, A Farewell to Arms, written when he was thirty years old, represents a new romanticism for Hemingway.
I’ve been wanting to read some Hemingway for a long time, and A Farewell to Arms exceeded my expectations in so many ways.
Hemingway’s prose is like nothing else I’ve ever encountered – it’s simple, easy to grasp, and interesting to read. For “classic” literature, I was expecting prose a bit more complex and difficult to understand. Instead the length of his sentences, which are short giving it a unique sound and pacing.
As far as the plot goes, it was definitely a bit dry in the beginning, but as the book continued it picked right up. Catherine and Henry’s relationship is unlike relationships in much of literature now, in my opinion, but I don’t that’s necessarily bad. Catherine takes everything in stride, not even blinking an eyelash at some of the more surprising points of the plot, which fascinated me. The war element of this novel I think could’ve had a serious influence on the romance – what are your thoughts on that?
As far as being a classic, I think that A Farewell to Arms is a fascinating look at love, war, and sacrifice, and is timeless in so many ways. I can’t recommend this book enough!