The Sun Also Rises & The Old Man And The Sea

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9781443439831: The Sun Also Rises & The Old Man And The Sea
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The most popular of Ernest Hemingway's books, The Sun Also Rises is an elegant showcase for Hemingway's powerful prose, memorable characters, and biting social commentary on love and society post WWI. Following American and British expatriates from the lights of Paris to the bloody bullfights of Pamplona, The Sun Also Rises tells the haunting story of Jake Barnes and Lady Brett Ashley, inextricably in love with each other despite Jake's devastating war wounds and Brett's entanglements with a bankrupt English noble and a flamboyant Spanish bullfighter. Published in 1926, The Sun Also Rises captured the moral and spiritual decay endemic to Europe in the post-war period, and the resiliency that allowed the Lost Generation to rebuild their lives.

The last major work produced by Ernest Hemingway, The Old Man and the Sea won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction in 1953. Santiago, an old Cuban fisherman, has gone 84 days without catching a fish. Confident that his bad luck is at an end, he sets off alone, far into the Gulf Stream, to fish. Santiago's faith is rewarded, and he quickly hooks a marlin... a marlin so big he is unable to pull it in and finds himself being pulled by the giant fish for two days and two nights. Showcasing Hemingway's trademark simplicity of style and powerful prose, The Old Man and the Sea is the epic tale of the struggle between life and death, personal courage, and man's desire to triumph when all hope seems to be lost.

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Review:

The Sun Also Rises first appeared in 1926, and yet it's as fresh and clean and fine as it ever was, maybe finer. Hemingway's famously plain declarative sentences linger in the mind like poetry: "Brett was damned good-looking. She wore a slipover jersey sweater and a tweed skirt, and her hair was brushed back like a boy's. She started all that." His cast of thirtysomething dissolute expatriates--Brett and her drunken fiancé, Mike Campbell, the unhappy Princeton Jewish boxer Robert Cohn, the sardonic novelist Bill Gorton--are as familiar as the "cool crowd" we all once knew. No wonder this quintessential lost-generation novel has inspired several generations of imitators, in style as well as lifestyle.

Jake Barnes, Hemingway's narrator with a mysterious war wound that has left him sexually incapable, is the heart and soul of the book. Brett, the beautiful, doomed English woman he adores, provides the glamour of natural chic and sexual unattainability. Alcohol and post-World War I anomie fuel the plot: weary of drinking and dancing in Paris cafés, the expatriate gang decamps for the Spanish town of Pamplona for the "wonderful nightmare" of a week-long fiesta. Brett, with fiancé and ex-lover Cohn in tow, breaks hearts all around until she falls, briefly, for the handsome teenage bullfighter Pedro Romero. "My God! he's a lovely boy," she tells Jake. "And how I would love to see him get into those clothes. He must use a shoe-horn." Whereupon the party disbands.

But what's most shocking about the book is its lean, adjective-free style. The Sun Also Rises is Hemingway's masterpiece--one of them, anyway--and no matter how many times you've read it or how you feel about the manners and morals of the characters, you won't be able to resist its spell. This is a classic that really does live up to its reputation. --David Laskin

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