Thursday, 21 May 2009

Getting E(a)rnest

So I finished For Whom The Bell Tolls last night and all* I can say is WOW. Absolutely fantastic - it took my breath away. Everyone goes on about Hemingway's 'deceptively simple' prose but it's true - the writing is very plain yet beautiful, and somehow or other you are just pulled into the head of the main character and really feel as if you're there, in a pine forest during the Spanish Civil War, hearing gunfire and horses screaming as you wait for the fascists to attack. Who can you trust? Who is going to betray you? Who is going to survive? And all the while the tension is just building building building towards the finale - will the guerillas blow up the bridge? Can they escape? Surely there can't be a happy ending? Honestly, during the last 40 or so pages I was unable to speak, answer the phone, do anything except sit tensely reading, practically holding my breath as I made it to the end. I don't want to sound pompous but... it's a masterpiece. (My only quibble is that the edition I read (Arrow) is absolutely full of typos - on almost every page there's a missed word, or a misspelling or a comma instead of a full stop... really bloody annoying!)

Still, that aside, the book is probably the perfect pre-read to Guernica which is next on my list. That was neatly done, hey? (I'd love to pretend it was because I 'theme' my reading but in reality it was pure coincidence.)

Better start doing some work now. Inspired by Hemingway, I'm going to write some raw, honest, 'deceptively simple' prose of my own now... about mermaids. Hmmmm - this should be interesting...

* Not strictly true, as it turns out.

11 comments:

Debs said...

Reading your post has reminded me that I've forgotten to order For Whom The Bell Tolls, so am off to do that right now.

Love the covers of your mermaid books, so pretty.

MelRox said...

sounds nice...

Lucy Diamond said...

Hi Debs - oh yes, do! I hope you like it. And thanks for your nice words on the covers, I love them too. So sparkly!

Hello MelRox. Welcome to the blog!

Tam said...

Don't think I've read any Hemingway. I'll try to get my hands on something and give it a go.

claire p said...

Ashamed to say I have a degree in EngLit but have never read any Hemmingway. Will have to put that right I think.

rosiescribble said...

Mmmm. Surely they could afford a proofreader?!

Lucy Diamond said...

Tam - yes, do - I promise I'm not on a commission!

Claire P - ahh don't worry, I did an English degree too and only read my first Hemingway last year (A Farewell to Arms - also excellent)!

Rosiescribble - you'd have thought so, wouldn't you? I almost ALMOST began composing a complaining letter...

Ellie said...

I read this a little while ago, and also loved it. I started off really slowly, only reading a chapter every few weeks, but as I got further into the story I got more and more engaged and I finished off reading an enormous section all in one go - I just couldn't stop! It took me over so gradually but once I got into it I started noticing how expertly crafted it was. I loved the Spanish-style grammar in the dialogue, and the frequent use of 'obscenity' to let you draw your own conclusions is fab! And now, Guernica is at the top of my TBR pile too. We're in sync!

Lucy Diamond said...

Yes, that 'obscenity' usage was brilliant! And the ending.... wow.
Am enjoying Guernica so far, hope you like it too!

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