I read this novel roughly six years ago, and found recently I couldn’t remember anything about it whatsoever. So, being the borderline compulsive reader I am, I instantly picked it up and read it again. I think perhaps the reason the story didn’t stick out to me much from those years ago is because there isn’t much of a story to speak of. I realize Hemingway is a master of American literature and is revered by legions, but I simply am not impressed with The Sun Also Rises. Our characters are disillusioned members of the Lost Generation, those people who experienced WWI, and residing as expatriates who enjoy the many lavishes of France and Spain. I admit, this could be quite an interesting premise, and although the bullfighting sequences are exciting near the end of the novel, the rest of it is not much more than a lot of arguing and drinking. They discuss, they drink, they eat, they argue, they move to another café, they drink, they eat. And so on.
I’ve studied Hemingway. I know the accolades he received for an evolving style and for changing the way many people look at prose. I understand he stripped away a great deal of fluff in order to get to the core of his subjects. I know all this. I’m afraid it does not change my opinion.
Jack Barnes, our narrator, and Brett Ashely, the lady friend he loves, simply did not illicit any sort of emotional response from me, nor did their story.