Thug Life Hemingway
I’ve heard a lot about Ernest Hemingway but never got around to reading any of his books. There are so many bestselling titles to choose from; I was a bit confused. I was bound to meet Pogoat for coffee. Thought it was best to ask him.
Pogoat: ‘The Sun Also Rises’. And, it’s also Hemingway’s first novel. There is also a real story that inspires the book, but not entirely.
Me: But that what most books are like, inspired by life with a twist.
Pogoat: Hemingway is quite a beast; he twists real incidents and to make himself a hero. For example, in real life; Hemingway gets injured in WW1, and that some-what makes him impotent. It is believed that he prayed for many days in some church for God to heal his erectile problem. And, God does heal him (he married four times). But, in the book the main character is impotent, and is madly in love with a promiscuous girl.
Me: It sounds sad, don’t give me any depressing book.
Pogoat: This is Hemingway; his writing is alive and buzzing. The central impotent character- Jake; he’s drunk and hardworking, travels across Europe on the roof of buses and unreserved trains. Buys booze by the gallon and is religious crazy about bullfights. And, this is all happening in the 20s. America has enforced alcohol prohibition, it’s illegal to drink, and all that Hemingway does in Paris is get drunk. Absolutely crazy defiance, it was rumoured that this book might have gotten banned in the US.
Me: So, what’s the twisted stuff?
Pogoat: Some argue that Hemingway was Anti-Semitic. A prominent character in the book – Robert is portrayed as desperate Jew, unable to fit into society because he was Jewish. Robert is unable to seduce women appropriately and gets into an ugly fight out of jealousy. But in real life, Hemingway fought with one of his Jewish friends because a gorgeous girl chooses the Jew over Hemingway. But don’t let that stop you. It’s one of the books that lay the foundation for the next generations, especially the hippies.
Me: This book inspired the hippie movement?
Pogoat: This book inspired the beat generation, who then, inspired the hippies. So, kind of the granddaddy of the hippies, so it’s a must read; I’ve read this over 50 times…
Me: Really, don’t simply say this because it’s a book review.
Pogoat: I’m serious. OK, try and forget that Hemingway mastered the ‘iceberg’ theory of writing, forget that he won the Nobel prize…check how he honestly and easily describes the pain of a man whose impotent and in love.
“Bring me a telegram form, please.”
He brought it, and I took out my fountain-pen and printed:
LADY ASHLEY HOTEL MONTANA MADRID
ARRIVING SUD EXPRESS TOMORROW LOVE
That seemed to handle it. That was it. Send a girl off with one man. Introduce her to another to go off with him. Now go and bring her back. And sign the wire with love. That was it all right. I went into lunch.
It’s a breakthrough novel of the 1920s. And, in some sense, feels contemporary too.
According to Wikipedia – The novel made Hemingway famous, inspired young women across America to wear short hair and sweater sets like the heroine’s — and to act like her too — and changed writing style in ways that could be seen in any American magazine published in the next twenty years. In many ways, the novel’s stripped-down prose became a model for 20th-century American writing. Nagel writes that “The Sun Also Rises was a dramatic literary event and its effects have not diminished over the years.
Video Courtesy – YouTube
After reading, I couldn’t help having mixed reactions. I had to keep Hemingway’s ideas away from his writing. I find his ideas about gender, race and equality quite wrong. But I can’t explain how much I love his simple, honest sentences with sublime revelations. Even when the story goes in the mindless details of who avoids the bill and who ends up paying while they are all drunk, Hemingway shows us character not in words but in action.
Just for kicks. Hemingway has also inspired beer advertisements – Watch the ads after you read the book. It’s more fun, I promise.
Video Courtesy – YouTube
Pogoat is a Goan writer. His first novel Fair-Weather Brother is a scary reminder of the times we live in – drugs, prostitution, corruption and fear of an impending nuclear disaster. And, this could possibly be the reason why people are calling Fair-Weather Brother a dangerous book.
You can buy the Kindle or Paperback version of The Sun Also Rises from here –