Book nook: ‘A Farewell to Arms’

A Farewell to Arms by Earnest Hemmingway

3/5 Devils

One of my summer reading books this past summer (and yes, I actually read my summer reading) was “The Sun Also Rises,” by Earnest Hemmingway. I began the book elated to be reading the words of such a renound author, but ended up disappointed by the novel’s lack of plot. Sure the themes are universal and the writing style is magnificent, but I found it hard to stay interested in a book that has minimal plot. Nerveless, I was determined to give Hemmingway another chance and so I recently chose to read another one of his works, A Farewell to Arms.

A Farewell to Arms follows the trials and tribulations of Frederic Henry, an American serving in Italy’s army during WWI. While serving in the army, Frederic meets and falls in love with Catherine Barkley, and the rest of the novel follow the two as they try and find a peaceful place within a war torn world.

I won’t go as far as saying that this novel completely overturned my initial thoughts about Hemmingway’s writing; however, I definitely enjoyed it more than The Sun Also Rises. First of all, I liked Frederic’s character, as I found him endearing and I felt that he didn’t deserve all that he went through (the characters in The Sun Also Rises were not likable). Also, the plotline of Frederic and Catherine’s romance was very sweet and you really felt that they loved each other. What made me enjoy this novel most though was that it its plot, especially the ending, was a lot more substantial and interesting than that of The Sun Also Rises.

What didn’t completely overturn my views on Hemmingway’s writing however, was the fact that the story’s plot was still very slow to begin. The whole first half of the novel was essentially only setting up the war scene and the disillusionment caused by the war. It wasn’t until the end of the novel that I really became interested in the plot. This made it hard for me to read long spans of the book at once. In addition, the ending was a little darker than I would’ve preferred.

Overall, I believe that A Farewell to Arms is a great example of Hemmingway’s ability with words, and I would definitely suggest it to anyone who’s interested in reading a Hemmingway book. Speaking of which, I would definitely suggest that everyone try at least one Hemmingway book in their lifetime, as he is a classic American author. I wouldn’t suggest this book for anyone who’s looking for a suspenseful plotline or a quick read though.