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Men Without Women - Ernest Hemingway

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Author: Ernest Hemingway / Genre: Classic Literature

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      18.06.2007 12:10
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      Hemingway tells the stories of strong men faced with individual battles and insecurities

      Last September I bought my partner a set of Ernest Hemingway books as he had mentioned an interest and I had been meaning to read some of his works myself for some time. Last week, I finally got around to picking up what will be my first in a long list of Hemingway books still to come.

      Author: Ernest Hemingway
      Publisher: Jonathan Cape
      Original Publication Date: 1927
      Genre: Classic short stories No of Pages: 160
      Amazon Price: £10.20
      BookPeople.com Price: Included in a collection of 8 Hemingway books for £8.99

      >>>General Gist of the Book<<<
      ‘Men without Women’ is a collection of 14 short stories examining the lives and insecurities of once strong men, their relationships, hardships, weaknesses, heartbreak and loneliness.

      >Stories<
      The Undefeated - The story of an aging and ailing bullfighter determined not to let go.

      In Another Country
      – Surviving casualties of war bond through physiotherapy and a Major comes to terms with the death of his wife

      Hills Like White Elephants
      – A Couple in loves’ last minute discussions on their pending abortion

      The Killers
      – Employees working at a local restaurant meet men intent on killing one of their regulars as a ‘favour’ to a friend

      Che Ti Dice La Patria?
      – Two men and their travels to Pisa on a mission to find something

      Fifty Grand
      – A Boxer resigned to his fate takes control for the last time

      A Simple Enquiry
      - We meet the Major from In another Country once again and are exposed to the side he kept private from his fellow war casualties

      Ten Indians
      – A young man feels heartache for the first time at the hands of a young Indian girl

      A Canary for One
      – A troubled couple travelling home after a holiday find themselves trapped in a conversation with an elderly woman with a Canary

      An Alpine Idyll
      – Two skiers learn the priorities of simple men through great guesthouse story telling

      A Pursuit Race
      - A cyclist finally gives up the fight to addiction

      Today Is Friday
      – Three Roman Soldiers discuss the strength of the men they are tasked with crucifying with an Innkeeper.

      Banal Story
      – The final chapter in the Matador’s career and life continued from The Undefeated

      Now I Lay Me
      – The final chapter in the story of the lonely Major


      >>>Who is Ernest Hemingway<<<
      Ernest Hemingway is undoubtedly one of America’s great writers with titles as novelist, journalist and short story writer and perhaps equally well known for his love of travelling.

      In 1925, following stints as a journalist interrupted by his time working with the amublance corps during the 1st World War, he published his first book– a collection of short stories, In Our Time.

      With four marriages and children, another tour of duty with the Navy, two near fatal plane crashes, increasing speculation about his sexuality and several successful books under his belt, Hemingway’s life was anything but conventional as the years went on.

      He suffered from Depression, paranoia and a number of other medical ailments over the years. He traveled extensively and drank even more so but all the time he continued to publish strong and successful books including The Sun Also Rises, A Farewell to Arms, For Whom the Bell Tolls and the Old Man and the Sea for which he earned a Pulitzer Prize in 1953. The following Year he was awarded the Nobel Literary Prize for his lifetime achievements

      In the spring of 1961, Hemingway tried to kill himself and received intensive electric shock therapy after the failed attempt. On July 2nd of that same year Hemingway tried again and this time, armed with a shotgun, there was no margin for error.

      >Other Hemingway books<
      The Torrents of Spring
      The Sun Also Rises
      A Farewell to Arms
      Green Hills of Africa
      A Moveable Feast
      The Old Man in the Sea
      The Snows of Kilimanjaro

      >>>What I liked<<<
      Hemingway’s fondness for travel and discovering the dusty world that he has held at his feet radiates from this book in a much deeper way that I had expected it too. The beauty with which he paints a graphic picture of his surroundings is truly spectacular. As a reader you feel like you can feel the breeze touching you from the sea; that you can hear the crowds shouting and smell the blood in the air as he describes it.

      I was taken aback by the vulnerability Hemingway gives these particularly strong manly men and his method of painting an image of loneliness, and often desperation without using the words. Their resolve and determination showed their strength and yet their weaknesses were plain to see. Hemingway made the reader empathise with each of these characters turning them from obvious hero’s into the ordinary people we can really relate to.

      Some people may disagree with me on this, but I particularly loved the way, the stories were almost inconsequential. The focus was never on what was happening but who it was happening to. It isn’t easy to hold a reader’s attention when the plot is secondary and yet I found myself hanging on every word.

      His use of language though simple is absolutely breath taking throughout. His ability to switch writing/dialogue style so effortlessly from story to story is an admirable talent and one that many would find next to impossible to achieve.

      Fifty Grand, Ten Indians and The Killers struck the deepest chord with me.

      >>>What I didn’t like<<<
      I struggle to identify what I didn’t like about this book. Perhaps the fact that each story left me wanting more could be seen as a negative aspect of the collection of stories but really it is more a testament to his ability as a storyteller. Hemingway avoids traditional conclusions in this book which although I appreciate why – The conclusion was never really important in any of the stories, in a world where we have forgotten how to use our imagination we have become increasingly dependent on being given answers to all our questions. Although I despise this aspect of our culture, I must admit to still feeling frustrated to be left hanging in some cases.

      >>>Overall Impression<<<
      Who new men could be so fascinating! This is an outstanding piece of work and I can only ask myself over and over again, why I took so long to pick up Hemingway and pledge that I will not allow the same amount of time to lapse before I pick up my next.

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    • Product Details

      This incisive work of short stories is one of Hemingway's most acclaimed collections. The men in the series of stories are hard-drinkers, gamblers, bullfighters, and gangsters - all unsoftened by a woman's hand.