Monday, December 13, 2010

Whats the deal with Hemingway?

Every once in a while I pick up something completely different in a bid to broaden my literary horizons. I step out of my comfort zone, away from the safe shores of epic fantasy. I wade past the shallows of sword and sorcery and science fiction. Sometimes I stop on the shoals of romance, sometimes I go further. Occasionally I am astonished by the oceans wonders.

Most times I end up half drowned and washed up on the shore.

I picked up a collected works of Ernest Hemingway for a few bucks at a fundraiser. I was left disappointed and confused. What on earth am I supposed to be taking from his writing? I couldn't find a plot. There were no grand comments on the state of humanity. No memorable characters. The dialogue was unusual and somewhat clever, it was also mundane to the point of boredom. To put it simply the writing wasn't.

So today I'm taking the unusual step of asking for a guide. Is there anyone who knows these waters and is willing to point out what I was supposed to find?

Otherwise I'll just sit on the shore and wait for the next epic.


Paul Callaghan said...

I had the same reaction to Hemingway as you at first. But when I went back to him I realised that his greatest strength is his ability to deal with emotions in a very spare and precise way. I regard his writing less as a good story but more as an example of how to reduce the number of words I use. Cutting down the unnecessary words is always good practice for any writer

Toni Wi said...

I like Hemingway because his writing is deceptively simple. At least, with his short stories anyway. On the surface it doesn't look like much is there, but everything has a purpose.

Anyway, it's okay if you don't like him! And Epics are just as good ;)

Kiwasi said...

Paul - I'll have to reread again looking for word ecomony. Once I can find which box I packed it in

Toni - Maybe I'll look at more of his shorts. I started off with one of his novels because it was first in the book.

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