Ernest Hemingway

I’ve been addicted to Hemingway for the past few weeks and the addiction has been so gripping that each night I’ll tell my husband, “I’m going to bed with Hemingway now.”

Fortunately for me, my husband understands me and loves me in spite of my addiction.

I recently read “Islands in the Stream”.  Ernest was so very talented at painting an entire scene in one or two sentences that he often had me standing there with him on the sandy beach, holding that icy drink in my hand and suffering over the loss of three sons.

Never has suffering been so beautiful!

The problem for me is this — it’s been a stormy love/hate relationship with Hemingway and me.  On one hand it’s wonderful writing and I love him, but on the other I haven’t found one story with an upbeat ending, not that I feel like everything I read has to have a good ending, but I love to read one now and then.

If you know of a Hemingway novel, novella or short story with a happy ending, PLEASE respond with the name of the story and I’ll run out and get it!

By the way, I absolutely loved “The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber”.  If you’ve read that story, please tell me your thoughts on the ending.  Was his death an accident?

Personally, I think not!

© 2010 Christina Moss


4 thoughts on “Ernest Hemingway

  1. After you and I wrote about Francis Macomber before, I re-read it, since I had not in decades.

    I think Ernest made the story unresolvable on purpose, which is why it is such an artistic success and indication of his skill. There’s so much we can never know about what happens to people, though we usually take a position based on our own experiences and biases. It’s maddeningly frustrating to NOT know, to accept that motives can be contradictory and that people really do things that make no sense, or that we are unable to make sense of. The story is a Rorscach blot, that tells us about ourselves!

    • The bitchy personality of the wife and what she did to her husband earlier in the story, suggests to me that she at least had the thought to kill him. Perhaps it was a Freudian slip of the aim.

      • Yes, that proves it (lol).

        I’ve been angry enough to want to do my wife harm, so I must therefore be guilty.

        It is wonderful, isn’t it, that you really can’t tell for sure? There are esteemed critics who have taken both sides, and some who share my opinion too. I’m playing a hunch, based on my understanding of Hemingway’s personality. I am guessing he would enjoy crafting a tale that mirrors our inability to fully know guilt or innocence in the actions of others. Juries have to go through this all the time. It’s the basis of reasonable doubt.

  2. As always I enjoy your comments.

    I suppose if you told me one day you wanted to do your wife harm, then later were holding the gun that killed her — yeah, I’d be suspicious.

    But would I find you guilty if I were on the jury at your trial? Well, that all depends on the evidence.

    I was the lead juror in a murder trial and the defendant probably did it but we found him not guilty by reasonable doubt.

    Would I find Mrs Macomber guilty in real life, in a court of law? Well, the prosecutor had better come up with some hefty evidence — a lot more than was in the short story.

    I don’t think Hemingway himself knew if she did it intentionally. Of course we’re meant to continue wondering. It was a hook for sure. That’s just another reason I’m completely in love with him.

    By the way I’m reading “For Whom the Bell Tolls” on your recommendation. Thank you, it’s bloody brilliant!

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