Monday, October 12, 2009

The Hemingway Hype

Let me preface this by saying that I don't hate Hemingway.  Having just finished The Sun Also Rises, I can appreciate some of his appeal to the "lost generation."  I will also say that I find his descriptions of landscapes to be beautiful in their simplicity, as I first discovered when I read his short story "Hills Like White Elephants."

However.  The problem that I've discovered is that I simply cannot identify with any of Hemingway's characters.  Every character distinctly feels that his/her life is lacking something (which I completely understand), but they all seem to be looking outside themselve in their attempts to find whatever that "something" is.  For example, the main character of The Sun Also Rises is obviously an alcoholic who spends most of the book "tight."  The rest of the male cast is in love with Lady Brett Ashley, who moves from one man to the next in her own search for that "something."

They are unhappy, unproductive, and rootless.  I can see the appeal for the "lost generation," but it is not an appeal that holds true for me.  I'm done with the Hemingway hype, and he has now joined the list of authors who, when named as someone's favorite author, will illicit a somewhat-judgmental "hmph" from me.


nishitak said...

I don't know...I quite liked the book (more for the writing than the actual story), but I would not really define myself as "lost" :)

Lindsay-with-an-A said...

You aren't alone in enjoying his work, but the Lost Generation refers to a specific group of expatriots who lived in Europe after WWI. The term was coined by Gertrude Stein.

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