Friday, October 30, 2015

Book Review- For Whom the Bell Tolls

For the Mount TBR challenge, TBR Pile Challenge, Alphabet Soup challenge, Chunkster challenge and Classics Club I read Ernest Hemingway's For Whom the Bell Tolls. To reiterate my thoughts from my review of The Sound and the Fury, I don't really care for "American Classics". This one was better than some thankfully and definitely better than The Sound and the Fury.
Synopsis from Goodreads: In 1937 Ernest Hemingway traveled to Spain to cover the civil war there for the North American Newspaper Alliance. Three years later he completed the greatest novel to emerge from "the good fight", For Whom the Bell Tolls. The story of Robert Jordan, a young American in the International Brigades attached to an antifascist guerilla unit in the mountains of Spain, it tells of loyalty and courage, love and defeat, and the tragic death of an ideal. In his portrayal of Jordan's love for the beautiful Maria and his superb account of El Sordo's last stand, in his brilliant travesty of La Pasionaria and his unwillingness to believe in blind faith, Hemingway surpasses his achievement in The Sun Also Rises and A Farewell to Arms to create a work at once rare and beautiful, strong and brutal, compassionate, moving and wise. "If the function of a writer is to reveal reality," Maxwell Perkins wrote to Hemingway after reading the manuscript, "no one ever so completely performed it." Greater in power, broader in scope, and more intensely emotional than any of the author's previous works, it stands as one of the best war novels of all time.
The writing was good and the story was interesting. My main qualms with this book was the language, crudities and sex. Each character was compelling, fleshed out and well written. Robert Jordan, as the protagonist got the most fleshing out. I really felt like the reader knew him.
This book happens over just a few days where not much is happening (until the last day) but still manages to have a story to tell. It's a story about people who only know each for a few days but create a bond that lasts.
Some unconventional and rambling thoughts before I close my review and fair warning I have not read The Fault in our Stars but from what I know of it, For Whom the Bell Tolls makes me think of it in the romance aspect of it. For those who have read both... thoughts?
All in all an okay book. :)

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  1. Interesting review Lois! I started reading A Farewell to Arms several years ago but stopped because of the language and crudities. It sounds from your comments on this book that might just be part of Hemingway's style. That's sad to me because I AM an avid classic book reader and would like to be familiar with at least some of his story lines. Maybe I'll just resort to Wikipedia. ;)

    1. Wikipedia is our friend with books like these. I really thought Hemingway's writing was good if he could just forgot the language and crudities but it's kind of hard to see past them when they're so prevalent. I'm not sure if I'll ever pick up another of his books again or not.


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