Wednesday, 12 June 2019

The Snows of Kilimanjaro by Ernest Hemingway

The Snows of Kilimanjaro by Ernest Hemingway
The title story was first published in America in Esquire Magazine in August 1936 and as this story collection in 1961.

How I got this book:
Swapped for at a book exchange

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

The ideal introduction to the genius of Ernest Hemingway, The Snows of Kilimanjaro and Other Stories contains ten of Hemingway's most acclaimed and popular works of short fiction. Selected from Winner Take Nothing, Men Without Women, and The Fifth Column and the First Forty-Nine Stories, this collection includes “The Killers,” the first of Hemingway's mature stories to be accepted by an American periodical; the autobiographical “Fathers and Sons,” which alludes, for the first time in Hemingway's career, to his father's suicide; “The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber,” a “brilliant fusion of personal observation, hearsay and invention,” wrote Hemingway's biographer, Carlos Baker; and the title story itself, of which Hemingway said: “I put all the true stuff in,” with enough material, he boasted, to fill four novels. Beautiful in their simplicity, startling in their originality, and unsurpassed in their craftsmanship, the stories in this volume highlight one of America's master storytellers at the top of his form.

As a first taste of Ernest Hemingway's writing, I am not sure that The Snows Of Kilimanjaro and Other Stories was the best place to start. There are eighteen stories in the collection, but some are as short as just a couple of pages so read more like a single scene than a self-contained tale. I liked the title story which has a great sense of its place and time. Hemingway's sparse prose suits the repressed emotional interplay between the characters and the ending was both unexpected and poignant. I was less taken with the series of Nick Adams stories. I was able to picture their poor, rural environment, but felt the characters only rarely sprang to life. I understand from other reviews that Hemingway himself was very much a man's man so was unsurprised by his sexism. There is significant casual racism too which dates the writing. Each story begins with an apparently autobiographical paragraph. I liked reading these but am unsure whether they are meant to relate to the following tale or are simply interludes.

I will definitely read more Hemingway as I liked the writing style. However, I think I shall make sure my next of his works is a full length book to give me more chance to get to know and understand the characters he has created.

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1 comment:

  1. I have read the odd Hemingway short story because of creative class and I have to admit I didn't really love any of them. Because I have to admit that I thought that there were too many very short ones! And a lot of the time I didn't emotionally connect :/ So I could relate to some of what you were saying.