The story takes us from Paris, France after the First World War to the fiesta and bull-fighting in Pamplona, Spain and the people, places and happenings in between.
I’m not very sure how to gauge this book. To be sure, this would have been my last book of Hemingway had I read it first and not The Old Man and the Sea. I’m fond of The Old Man etc. and Hemingway’s beautiful prose is what makes me pick-up The Sun Also Rises. But, and it is a big BUT, the story just didn’t cut it for me. Maybe my expectations are too high for a Hemingway novel. Or maybe, the novel is too intelligent for me. I’ve read that many considered this his magnum opus, the book of all his books. To be fair, he was a good writer. But the characters, oh the characters! I dislike the lot of them. How many times do they really have to drink in a day? I wouldn’t want to be friends with them. I might tolerate the narrator, Jake Barnes, but he was an a*hole all the same. I do believe he deserved that punch even if it came from another loser-stalker-combo guy. It would have been easier had he, Jake, sweep the girl off her feet and be done with it but if it had been, there wouldn’t be story, no? Okay, I’m rumbling.
Still there is a saving grace. Montoya, the hotel proprietor, where the main characters stayed during the fiesta, is a sort of a reflective man. Although, the irony is not lost on me, bless his heart when he asked Jake’s advice to prevent a young matador from being ‘corrupted’ by the glamour only to have the young man associate himself with a broken lady with Jake’s help.
A lot has happened but at the end, I feel that nothing in consquence has happened at all. Nevertheless, I wouldn’t mind reading another Hemingway.