Friday, July 07, 2006

65. "A Farewell to Arms" ~ Ernest Hemingway

An American, "Tenente" Frederic Henry, serves in the ambulance division of an Italian army base. Jaded, brittle, he meets Catherine, an English nurse/aide at an adjoining hospital. Romance ensues. Love, actually.

This was a timely novel, in my opinion, for greater study. Oftentimes men are accused of fostering war; in this case, Henry despises the war, especially after finding love-attachment-desire with Catherine. After he is injured, then rehabilitated, he is returned to the front lines as the Germans are invading. The men who complain about the war are called anarchists, but aren't they the only honest humans?

After Henry escapes being shot as a traitor (accused of being a German in Italian uniform), he turns AWOL. But the war still haunts his thoughts, and though he is back with the lovely Catherine, not all can remain blissful once he bids farewell to war.

A thoughtful, provocative inspection of violence, mediocrity, fate/karma. My only beef is the stilted dialogue. There are only so many "Oh, darling!" passages that one can read before wanting to blow one's nose upon the page.

3.5 out of 5.0 Capris.

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