Saturday, September 24

Book Review: A Farewell to Arms

Title: A Farwell to Arms

Author: Ernest Hemingway

Pages: 332

Summary: The best American novel to emerge from World War I, A Farewell to Arms is the unforgettable story of an American ambulance driver on the Italian front and his passion for a beautiful English nurse. Hemingway’s frank portrayal of the love between Lieutenant Henry and Catherine Berkley, caught in the inexorable sweep of war, glows with an intensity unrivalled in modern literature, while his description of the German attack on Caporetto - of lines of tired men marching in the rain, hungry, weary, and demoralized - is one of the greatest moments in literary history. A story of love and pain, of loyalty and desertion, A Farewell to Arms, written when he was 30 years old, represents a new romanticism for Hemingway.

My Rating: 7.25/10

What I liked/disliked about the book: While I didn't hate the book, it isn't exactly my favourite from the author.

The first half of the book, the story was slow moving and was difficult to push through. I did find myself enjoying the second half a lot more, I found it was a lot more engaging. The book focuses a lot on the characters; who were well written and well developed. I appreciate the time the author took two develop them, and to create very flawed characters - it did make them seem more realistic. Unfortunately, I didn't care for a single character in the book. They could have died or lived happily ever after, and I wouldn't have cared. So, they author created a well developed, flawed cast of characters, but nothing stood out to make the memorable.

As usual, I have to give Hemingway credit for how he writes a book. I've seen other authors attempt it, and they fail, the story may not have engaged me, but I kept reading, because Hemingway can write, tell his story without saying a lot - put he always manages to get his point across, and even if the book isn't the most engaging, I read on, because I enjoy his style. And I have to admit, this particular book, seemed to be written slightly different than others I've read. Perhaps because he had a firsthand experience in some of the actual events, but it did have, something different about it. I would be interested into finding out, where the autobiographical aspect of it ends, and where the fictional side begins.

What to read next: Old Man and the Sea was well done and well worth reading.

Challenges: 11 in 11, 100+ Challenge, 1001 Books Challenge, Book Blogger Bucket List

Banned Books Week: Banned in Italy in 1929 because of its "painfully accurate account on the retreat from Caporetto" (From the ALA site). The book has also been challenged at numerous schools do to its sexual content. The book has also been subjected to censorship since the time of its publication when words such as "Shit" were replaced with dashes. Find more from this link here. I'd love to find an origional source behind this to confirm it. Very interesting if it is true.


  1. This is one is on my Fill In The Gaps list. I wasn't a fan of the last Hemmingway book I read (The Sun Also Rises). I'll have to push myself through this one too.

  2. I am sort of intimidated by Hemingway, and have only read one of his books. It sounds like this might not be the best one for me to investigate, since you had so many issues with the characters, but I am still on the prowl for a Hemingway book that will change my opinion about his work!

  3. Linda - I enjoyed The Sun Also Rises - but it wasn't great. This one, just bored me.

    Zibilee - Snows Falling on Mount Kilamanjo (sp?) was good, it was a collection for short stories, which I enjoyed and Old Man and The Sea was a great book.

  4. Just wanted to let you know that Macmillan Audio is offering 3 audio books to participants in the War Through the Generations Civil War Challenge. Go here to enter!

  5. Anna - Thanks for the info!