Wednesday, October 16, 2013


I'm getting kindof old so I figured maybe I should read a Hemingway novel before my time was up.  I'd been looking for examples of what many considered excellent writing and Hemingway's books seem to be on most lists.  Particularly he was held up as an example of clean, clear, precise writing.

I did a little internet search and decided on reading "For whom bell tolls" and picked it up from the local library.  I finished it last night.  I was hoping I'd like it better, but unfortunately the book sortof lost me around page 350 or 400 - and I had to force myself to plow through the remaining 100-150 pages or so to get to the end.   While the final scenes were pretty interesting I felt like a lot of the "middle" of the book could've been trimmed considerably while preserving the story.  There was a large section that felt like it was just marking time until we got to the finish.

Anyhow, overall I was pretty disappointed with the pacing in the middle.  It had a very strong first half, and an exciting conclusion, but that part in between...

Something very interesting in the writing style was how Hemingway often would change from third person point of view (he, she, they) to first person point of view (I,me) - often even within the same paragraph.   It actually worked pretty well in the narrative to quickly move in and out of the main character's head, but it seems like it's something that would be discouraged by editors today.

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