Meh. I think I would have liked this book a lot more if something had actually happened. The plot doesn’t really flow; it’s just a bunch of events strung together that go like this: work a bit at a newspaper agency, waffle around Paris for ages, travel around France, argue, pine for some woman who I thought was a man for several pages because her name is “Brett”, go to Spain, go trout fishing, take a nap, go to some bullfights, pine and complain some more, go back to Paris.
In between every single one of those actions, add “go to a cafe and get drunk” and then you have the entire plot of The Sun Also Rises. I am not exaggerating.
Don’t get me wrong, I like Ernest Hemingway, but he’s definitely an acquired taste, and I can only read his books once in a while. Otherwise his style really starts to bug me. He writes very, very simply. Not a single word gets wasted, but this also means that his books have a pace that can best be described as “plodding.”
For example: “In the morning it was bright, and they were sprinkling the streets of the town, and we all had breakfast in a cafe. Bayonne is a nice town. It is like a very clean Spanish town and it is on a big river. Already, so early in the morning, it was very hot on the bridge across the river. We walked out on the bridge and then took a walk through the town.”
Show this excerpt to an unsuspecting reader, and they would probably think it was the opening of one of those What I Did On My Summer Vacation essays written by a third grader. The fact that it was not is probably what makes Hemingway a great writer, but come on. Would it kill the man to be a little more descriptive every now and then?
Verdict: two out of five stars