Saturday, August 11, 2007

Living to Understand Hemmingway

Reading Hemmingway is like making conversation with a child. It seems so simple, but it is deceptive because you can't unravel the mind behind the facade. Hemmingway writes with painstaking simplicity. One doesn't need to be a walking lexicon or a doctorate in metaphysics to interpret his prose. But a reader is bound to give in to frustration when he or she tries to empathise with the writer himself.

I have been reading 'For Whom the Bell Tolls', a piece of fiction set in the background of the Spanish Civil war (in the time of Franco). Hemmingway sympathized with the left-leaning republicans who fought the Franco regime. Hemmingway's characters are more dark and complex when one starts to retrospect. The book is slow and ,as is often said about Hemmingway's writing style, 'understated'. I am often left wondering at the end of each chapter, 'Did I miss something? Did I read it too quickly?'; yet,strangely enough,I feel the urge to rummage through every page the man has ever written.

So here are a few statistics about the general reading pace.

Number of pages: 490
Number of pages read: 188
Number of pages left: 302
Estimated time of completion: Hopefully within this quarter assuming the availability of favourable circumstances.

3 comments:

Gammafunction said...

absolutely spot on about "for whom the bell tolls"-Hemingway style is so simple that it doesn't excite me at all....very deadpan,the reason I abandoned the book after some 100 pages :-)

La Diva! said...

I suppose Hemmingway is like wine, it takes time to acquire a taste for his style.

La Diva! said...

ps: Don't worry, the book picks up momentum after the 200th page :-)