Menage a Hemingway…

24 Aug

Our next classic bookclub will be somewhat of a Hemingway-fest. After carrying around the shoulder-achingly huge Anna Karenina for the last two months, Hemingway’s slim novel Fiesta: The Sun also Rises was extremely pleasing to the eye. Despite this, or perhaps as a result of having conquered such a weighty tome, the group felt hungry for another challenge, so we now have a Hemingway triptych on offer; our main book will be Fiesta, but in the blue corner will be the slightly chunkier For Whom the Bell Tolls and in the red corner, the lithe little Old Man and the Sea. Bookclubbers can read one, two or all three if they so choose.

The next meeting will be happening on Monday the 18th of October and I plan to modestly aim for the smaller two. Having never read any Hemingway before, I’m looking forward to experiencing his famously ‘macho’ style first hand. I’m not really sure what ‘macho’ writing should look like…or perhaps the macho-ness is to be found in the subject matter, either way its an interesting topic and one that gets debated in seminars and lectures in probably all English Lit degrees. I know that the French had a lot to say about it, as did A. S. Byatt at her recent appearance at The Edinburgh Book Festival. Byatt quoted Samuel Johnson’s famous comparison of women writers to dogs standing on their hind-legs to illustrate the way in which women who write ‘intellectual’ books are treated as unnatural. It’s a touchy subject and I always find myself agreeing with both sides of the argument, which results in much fence-sitting when it comes to be discussed…so I’ll let you know if I make up my mind any time soon. And whether or not I think Hemingway turns out to be a macho man.

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