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The Sun Also Rises

The Sun Also Rises

Book - 1956
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Originally published in 1926, The Sun Also Rises is Ernest Hemingway's first novel and a classic example of his spare but powerful writing style.​

A poignant look at the disillusionment and angst of the post-World War I generation, the novel introduces two of Hemingway's most unforgettable characters: Jake Barnes and Lady Brett Ashley. The story follows the flamboyant Brett and the hapless Jake as they journey from the wild nightlife of 1920s Paris to the brutal bullfighting rings of Spain with a motley group of expatriates. In his first great literary masterpiece, Hemingway portrays an age of moral bankruptcy, spiritual dissolution, unrealized love, and vanishing illusions.

"The ideal companion for troubled times: equal parts Continental escape and serious grappling with the question of what it means to be, and feel, lost." -- The Wall Street Journal
Publisher: New York : Scribner Paperback Fiction, 1956, [c1954]
ISBN: 9780743297332
0743297334
9780684830513
0684830515
9780684800714
0684800713
Characteristics: 251 p. ; 22 cm

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#65 The Great American Read


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JCLJenV Apr 12, 2021

The characters amble through life in Paris then in Spain drinking and drinking some more while eating a little. A fun view of the loose way of life in the early 1920’s. Some zingy one-liners similar to Oscar Wilde.

CMLibrary_DJeffrey Apr 08, 2021

Eat, Pray, Love for the Renaissance Man.

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dgiard
Mar 16, 2021

As a young man, Ernest Hemingway worked as a newspaper reporter and as a wartime ambulance driver in Spain. Hemingway draws on both experiences in his first novel: "The Sun Also Rises". The story is set mostly in 1920s Spain and is told with the directness and conciseness of a newspaper article.

Narrator Jake Barnes is an American journalist living in Paris in the 1920s. He and his friends decide to travel to Spain - first to go fishing in the mountains; then to attend a festival in Pamplona, featuring bullfighting and the famous Running of the Bulls. Among Jake's friend is Britt - known as "Lady Ashley". Britt is having an affair or has had an affair with most of the group. In Pamplona, the group drinks heavily and Britt hooks up with a local matador.

This book lacks a strong plot, but focuses more on defining the characters through their dialogue and their actions. Hemingway writes with a refreshing simplicity - without wasted words or flowery language. His description of the bullfights paints a picture for the reader as if we were present in the ring.

"The Sun Also Rises" is a story of sexual liberation and doomed relationships and the endless pursuit of pleasure by the so-called "Lost Generation" - damaged by the first World War and drifting through life without purpose.

It is no surprise it has endured so long.

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Anita_Dickey
Dec 15, 2020

I read this book to fulfil the goal read a book written by an author in their twenties. to be honest, i found it very boring. its a lot of drinking and a lot of talking, some travel, but basically nothing. my life wasn't enriched in any way. it is also on listopia's list of 300 books every one should read once. i do not think it belongs there. i say skip it.

j
Justinian537
Sep 27, 2020

The title of this book is taken from Ecclesiastes 1:5, where the Preacher (Solomon) delivers a long and famous soliloquy on the emptiness, futility and meaninglessness of life. This is certainly exemplified by all the major characters of the story, who drift from one bar or night club to another, consume endless quantities of alcohol, and engage in drunken brawls; and whose relationships with each other are at best superficial and as short as their attention spans. They are like petulant, immature children, incapable of genuine feeling or emotion, who drift from one entertainment to another but all too soon are seeking some new thrill.

Even the “running of the bulls” in Pamplona is seen in this context, as they comment on the handsomeness of the toreros, the beauty of their “suits of light” (costumes), the fine points of their technique, the money they earn, and how “good” the bulls they face are, with nary a thought or observation about the danger, the bloodthirstiness of the crowds, or the absolute brutality and cruelty of this “sport”, if it can be called that. (Aside: in Arthur Clarke’s “Childhood’s End” one of the first decrees issued by the Overlords when they come to earth is one which bans bullfighting altogether. Good for them, and him!)

The superficiality of the characters and the total lack of a meaningful plot made this a very tedious and pleasureless read, and I am at a loss as to why it is regarded as Hemingway’s finest book (“For Whom the Bell Tolls” is much better), let alone as one of the “foundational pillars” of modern American literature. I cannot recommend a book where the author fails in any way to make the reader care about the protagonists. If in describing the generation that emerged from the Great War as the “lost generation” Gertrude Stein meant that they lacked any sense of meaning or purpose, self-control, or a moral compass in their lives, then this group is certainly exemplary of it; but it is difficult to believe that they were characteristic of the entire American expatriate community in the 1920’s, and it is appalling to think that Hemingway could have been suggesting that it was a virtue to live this sort of lifestyle. Perhaps some did live this way, but I think the majority who emerged from the Great War dug in their heels, raised their families through the Roaring Twenties and the Great Depression, imparted positive values about hard work, thriftiness and moral accountability, and produced the Greatest Generation which saw the United States through the most extreme trial it was ever called upon to face.

Sadly, the lifestyle of the characters in this book mirrors in some respects the way Hemingway lived much of his own life, which ended with his suicide in Idaho in 1961 (four other family members, including his father, also took their own lives); and if any writer’s life could be described as “An American Tragedy” it was his. He produced many fine stories and novels, but if one is searching for writers of the 1920’s and 1930’s who will paint a vivid picture of American life, engage the mind, and uplift the spirit, then one is much better off with Sinclair Lewis, William Faulkner, or, best of all, John Steinbeck.

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MeOwnEyes
Jan 28, 2020

~As if it isn't already known, Hemingway is & was, one of the great writers, even @ a young age. For the 1924 era, 6 yrs post WW1, this was a risqué novel for it's time. He only wrote about what he experienced. His stay in France & Spain with expatriates from Britain & the States gives for a portrayal of partying & an elusive, beautiful heroine. All traversing western Europe, free as a breeze, drinking, fishing, bull fights, carriage rides, train trips, etc. Would of loved to have been there with them. What a great time to be alive. The world was your oyster. He was ahead of his time.

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gord_ma
Jul 09, 2019

The first bull was Belmonte’s. Belmonte was very good. But because he got thirty thousand pesetas and people had stayed in line all night to buy tickets to see him, the crowd demanded that he should be more than very good. Belmonte’s great attraction is working close to the bull. In bull-fighting they speak of the terrain of the bull and the terrain of the bull-fighter. As long as a bull-fighter stays in his own terrain he is comparatively safe. Each time he enters into the terrain of the bull he is in great danger. Belmonte, in his best days, worked always in the terrain of the bull. This way he gave the sensation of coming tragedy. People went to the corrida to see Belmonte, to be given tragic sensations, and perhaps to see the death of Belmonte. Fifteen years ago they said if you wanted to see Belmonte you should go quickly, while he was still alive. Since then he has killed more than a thousand bulls. When he retired the legend grew up about how his bull-fighting had been, and when he came out of retirement the public were disappointed because no real man could work as close to the bulls as Belmonte was supposed to have done, not, of course, even Belmonte (217–218).
 
If you want to know, I mean really want to know, modern American literature arose in the 1920s. It was born in 1922, with T.S. Eliot’s “The Waste Land,” spent its “younger and more vulnerable years” with F. Scott Fitzgerald, that is, up until 1925 (The Great Gatsby), and then spent the rest of the decade hanging out with Ernest Hemingway.
 
Bullfights, fistfights, titles derived from the Bible, gritty sacrifices for a cause, and fishing ensued.
 
Ostensibly, a novel about the happenings among a circle of young American expats in post-WWI Paris, [The Sun Also Rises] is now known as the novel of the Lost Generation. From Jake Barnes’ emasculating war wound, to the aimless and unfaithful Brett Ashley, to the ostracized Robert Cohn… the survivors of the Great War may have escaped with their lives, but not much else.
 
It’s a great novel, a revelation, five-stars, and my favourite Hemingway novel, too… despite the strange, arguably anti-Semitic and indefensible Robert Cohn passages.
 
Q: Who is the hero of the novel?
A: The Lost Generation afforded no heroes. All were lost or were broken in the War.
 
Q: Who is the witness of the novel?
A: Jake Barnes, I guess.
 
Q: In a few words, compare Fitzgerald and Hemingway?
A: The layers in Hemingway’s novels were more accessible, that aids in re-readability. His writings were full of life, colour, action, travel, and visceral texture (see the quote above). His prose was cleaner and more precise. His novels were all consistently good, as opposed to Fitzgerald, whose first two novels were arguably meh. The former critiqued religiously and the latter with a measure of ambivalence.
 
Q: And style?
A: Some British literary historians mock Hemingway’s “Iceberg theory,” his clean and clear and honest prose, and his abuse of conjunctions and punctuation. Fine. Hemingway’s prose might not be perfect, he was probably a jerk, but what a world to read and to live and to re-read.
____________________

HCL_featured Sep 19, 2018

"Burned in Nazi bonfires in Germany (1933)." from www.ala.org American Library Association

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Meganedelle
Jan 23, 2018

This is by far my favorite work of Hemingway's. If you are going to read anything by Hemingway, or have never read anything by him before and would like to, I would recommend this novel.

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Olgalevin
Nov 07, 2017

Just finished this book today. I must say, sometimes I wonder why Hemingway didn't just delve into the noir genre. The amount of masculinity in this story and all that is associated with living in 1920's France (and Spain of course) is astounding and everything that shaped Hemingway as a person and his writing style. The author of this book is not everyone's forte of course. In many parts of the book there's a lot more character interaction and less general narating and paragraphs. He is also known for very short sentences as well. But I really did enjoy this story and can't wait to see the movie adaptation that I have saved to my list.

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ecarr1212
Jun 28, 2016

ecarr1212 thinks this title is suitable for 12 years and over

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JASON L ROLLINS
Jun 12, 2010

JASON L ROLLINS thinks this title is suitable for 14 years and over

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FavouriteFiction Sep 30, 2009

Americans Brett and her drunken fiancé, Mike Campbell, boxer Robert Cohn, novelist Bill Gorton and narrator Jake Barnes leave the drinking and dancing in Paris for the Spanish town of Pamplona.

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ecarr1212
Jun 28, 2016

Other: Lots of references to various types of alcohol (beer, absinthe, etc.) and several stages of drunkenness throughout.

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