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fanuzzir
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"The Big Two-Hearted River"

Classic Hemingway, set in Michigan, site of his boyhood vacations and fondest memories. This two part story also features a recurring protagonist of Hemingway short fiction, Nick Adams.
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jimgysin
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Re: "The Big Two-Hearted River"


fanuzzir wrote:
Classic Hemingway, set in Michigan, site of his boyhood vacations and fondest memories. This two part story also features a recurring protagonist of Hemingway short fiction, Nick Adams.


His love of the Michigan fisherman lifestyle is evident here, but I’ve never thought of this as one of his stronger works. Heck, if this had been the first bit of Hemingway that I ever read, it might have been my last. Man versus nature only, and nature is pretty wimpy here. But the writing style is, as you say, classic Hemingway.

But if I had read this at the time he wrote it, there’s no way I would have thought, “This guy is going to be a literary icon before it’s all said and done.” Shows what I know, I guess!

-- Jim
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how to become a classic writer...



jimgysin wrote:But if I had read this at the time he wrote it, there’s no way I would have thought, “This guy is going to be a literary icon before it’s all said and done.”




I read a book right now that makes me wonder how come it came to be published at all but it made me think about which contemporary writers will qualify into the fame hall of belowed dusty books. Can't even guess.

But we had a recent example of all examples: Melville. The guy even gave up writing!
Hemingway killed himself. I hope it was not because of his writing.

ziki
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fanuzzir
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"A River Runs Through the Big Two-Hearted River"

[ Edited ]
Hey, we're here to discuss not to worship. There's nothing better than ripping a story to shreds together, so let's have at it! (You won't find me defending the august fly-fishing fiction genre.)

Message Edited by fanuzzir on 02-04-200710:18 PM

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holyboy
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Re: "A River Runs Through the Big Two-Hearted River"

I wrote a funny little essay on the style of this story. It's in to a publisher now (I'll let you know).

I went to the river. The river was there.

Good luck in getting that sort of writing published anywhere these days.
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jimgysin
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Re: how to become a classic writer...


ziki wrote:

I read a book right now that makes me wonder how come it came to be published at all but it made me think about which contemporary writers will qualify into the fame hall of belowed dusty books. Can't even guess.


I think that part of the problem is that the short story seems to be a lost art, for the most part. Even the Atlantic Monthly has gotten away from including monthly short story pieces, opting instead to dedicate one annual issue to the form.

But among the other authors I like (and there are many), if I were to pick a few who I think have "timeless" potential, I would put Alan Furst at or near the top. Joseph Kanon is another candidate, but his output is insufficient. If Phillip Kerr were to write more stories along the lines of his BERLIN NOIR triology, and especially if he were to throw in a few short stories along the way, he would also rank up there.

It's an interesting and fun question, but I'd better stop before I get too carried away.

-- Jim
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Re: "A River Runs Through the Big Two-Hearted River Out of Africa"


fanuzzir wrote:

Hey, we're here to discuss not to worship. There's nothing better than ripping a story to shreds together, so let's have at it! (You won't find me defending the august fly-fishing fiction genre.)



Heh. I don't really want to trash any stories, but this one (pair, actually) is definitely not at the top of my list of stories to recommend when I'm trying to get someone hooked (no pun intended) on Hemingway. And it has nothing to do with the fly-fishing aspect. Rather, it's the absolute lack of any plot beyond what you might find in a vapid post on someone's vanity blog site.

Imagine something along the lines of: My alarm clock went off. I got out of bed. I put some coffee in the machine. The grounds made a little noise as they hit the filter paper. I added filtered water. I turned on the machine.

Yawn!

If I didn't know better, I would tag this one as Hemingway's first effort at writing.

And by the way, I like your addition to the message subject, and I thought I'd add a bit of my own to it, too...

-- Jim
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jimgysin
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Re: "A River Runs Through the Big Two-Hearted River"


holyboy wrote:

I wrote a funny little essay on the style of this story. It's in to a publisher now (I'll let you know).

I went to the river. The river was there.


Heh. Exactly. Hey, Bob said that we could trash a story here or there, so let's use this one. You and I were thinking along the same lines, so let's make it a group effort. Anyone can feel free to add to it, sentence by sentence!

I went to the river. The river was there. The water was wet.

-- Jim
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short story-yes or no

It is a strange phenomena. you would think that people are so much in a hurry nowadays that a short story would be exactly the kind of reading that would fit into their lifestyle. Not so as you pointed out.

On the other hand maybe it is some kind of antithesis...life's rushin' on so then you want to balance it with a novel that holds yur attention longer. Not sure, what do you think?

If I make a personal confession here, I must say I actually follow the trend: I used to like short stories but I do not enjoy reading them lately. Not that I didn't try but my mind wanted something else, it felt too fragmented. To be honest I am kind of puzzled by this myself.

There was one exception to the rule: Lahiri!

Maybe to discuss stories here will be different.


ziki
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saying too much?



jimgysin wrote: I'd better stop before I get too carried away.

-- Jim




Now that if anything would be a pitty. I hope to see you carried away and passionate before this month is over!

:-)
ziki
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writing-how

[ Edited ]

jimgysin wrote:Imagine something along the lines of: My alarm clock went off. I got out of bed. I put some coffee in the machine. The grounds made a little noise as they hit the filter paper. I added filtered water. I turned on the machine.




That is actually very good! It builds up suspence but then you would need to do something creative with it beyond this point not to poorly imitate Proust and Joyce.

Point in case: writing doesn't exist in itself..it's up to the writer to shape his thoughts and plot is not always the king.

I ask: is Hemingway about 'writing method' or is he about something else?

ziki

Message Edited by ziki on 02-06-200703:32 AM

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Seattleslew
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Re: "The Big Two-Hearted River"

I've read many of this groups responses to "Big Two-Hearted River" and i wonder if there is that sense in any of you of what Hemingway said of stories, that like icebergs, a majority of the thing itself is below the surface, out of sight. For example, opne of the most important lines in Part One is in the second paragraph: "The river was there." Have you considered this? And the description previous to that line is more like a bombed out area than a Michigan rural paradise. Have you asked yourself why it is presented like that. Also, the exactling details of fly fishing in Part Two: what beyond describing fly fishing is imbedded in those very controlled and specific details?

This is a story of a young man returned from war, losing his mind almost and barely able to win the struggle to remain sane. "There river was there." Can you imagine the safety Nick feels when he finds the river is actually there. It also means he is actually there as well, not back in the war, not off in his own torn-apart mind.

When and if we get to "Hills Like White Elephants," I certainly hope you will not leave THAT grand story until you have settled in your own mind what really is going on with the girl Jig when she says, "Those hills look like white elephants."
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fanuzzir
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Re: "A River Runs Through the Big Two-Hearted River"



holyboy wrote:
I wrote a funny little essay on the style of this story. It's in to a publisher now (I'll let you know).

I went to the river. The river was there.

Good luck in getting that sort of writing published anywhere these days.


HOlyboy, would you be willing to share your work? I think that is a marvellous subject. At any rate, the best of luck on getting it published.
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fanuzzir
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Re: "A River Runs Through the Big Two-Hearted River Out of Africa"



jimgysin wrote My alarm clock went off. I got out of bed. I put some coffee in the machine. The grounds made a little noise as they hit the filter paper. I added filtered water. I turned on the machine.

Yawn!






I am honestly gripped by your opening here. Call me a Hemingway fan. I've always loved the breaking down of unspoken life's rituals into deliberate, time-is-frozen moments. As a modernist author, he is obsessed by craft, and wants us to see the craftmanship of getting out of bed, clearing one's throat, having a glass of wine, and yes, fly-fishing. One of my favorite passages is a description of him putting fern in a fishing bag to layer his caught fish he was going to bring home. Something about the care about which he did simple things made me think that everday life could be more highly valued . . .
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fanuzzir
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Style and sanity

Allow me to add some context to our analysis of the Hemingway style: I see a man ruined by violence and trauma returning to a landscape he once knew trying his very best to reduce his life and his mind into series of simple, orderly observations. The opening tells us that he is alone in a blackened forest; it may be the Italy he left as a soldier or the shock he endures as a returning American to a world no longer there. He tells us everything about his surroundings except what is on his mind; he goes so far into the minutae of fishing and cooking and sleeping that you know he is desperately trying to hypnotize himself, keep himself from falling into a black hole of self-awareness and self-reflection. So he keeps his eyes on the mechanical task in front of him, and strings out a prose poem that brings meaning to almost every action. In one sense, this is Hemingway worshipping craft again, and manly, quiet competence. On the other hand, it is a full blown effort at psychic reconstruction, one sentence at a time.
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stargazer1
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Re: "The Big Two-Hearted River"

In regards to Melville have you read any of his works.
Melville was an experienced sailor had even served in the United States Nave as well as on whalers and merchants ships.
Melville wrote several novels on his South Seas adventures and of his tour of duty with the navy.
His novels include typee, Omoo, Marti, Redburn, White Jacket (a name he was given because he wore a white jacket) Billy Budd which was printed after his death).,and Moby Dick.

But Melville also wrote Pierre, Israel Potter, The Piazza Tales and other prose and at least fifty poems.

Besides being a writer Melville also was a bank clerk, taught school, goes on lecture tours and was a custom inspector.

He died leaving a number of poems, prose and billy Budd in manuscript.
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Re: Style and sanity

I mean how many Nam vets went 'duck-quack' and ended up in woods? I wouldn't think it was easier for people to grasp life after WWII. Perhaps that created a vacuum of sorts in their souls.

ziki
walking around the pot
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fanuzzir
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Re: "The Big Two-Hearted River"



stargazer1 wrote:
In regards to Melville have you read any of his works.
Melville was an experienced sailor had even served in the United States Nave as well as on whalers and merchants ships.
Melville wrote several novels on his South Seas adventures and of his tour of duty with the navy.
His novels include typee, Omoo, Marti, Redburn, White Jacket (a name he was given because he wore a white jacket) Billy Budd which was printed after his death).,and Moby Dick.

But Melville also wrote Pierre, Israel Potter, The Piazza Tales and other prose and at least fifty poems.

Besides being a writer Melville also was a bank clerk, taught school, goes on lecture tours and was a custom inspector.

He died leaving a number of poems, prose and billy Budd in manuscript.




I think you'll find a discussion of Melville's biography on the Moby Dick page. Just go to American classics and you'll see the title.
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fanuzzir
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Re: Style and sanity

Walking around the pot?
Yes, there was an early literature of post-traumatic stress of WWI vets, the watershed war in terms of leaching all the romance out of war. You couldn't have imagined the poetry, the idealism, the propaganda, the imagery of Crusades and enlightenment that went into the run-up of that war. The aftermath, of trench warfare, and barbed wire, and repeating rifles, was just too ghastly--here was a hiatus between idealism and reality that hit people like a two by four. Hemingway was one of the poets of that aftershock, which helped to create a new kind of romance, the alienated and disillusioned anti-hero.
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Re: Style and sanity



fanuzzir wrote:
Walking around the pot?
Yes, there was an early literature of post-traumatic stress of WWI vets, the watershed war in terms of leaching all the romance out of war. You couldn't have imagined the poetry, the idealism, the propaganda, the imagery of Crusades and enlightenment that went into the run-up of that war. The aftermath, of trench warfare, and barbed wire, and repeating rifles, was just too ghastly--here was a hiatus between idealism and reality that hit people like a two by four. Hemingway was one of the poets of that aftershock, which helped to create a new kind of romance, the alienated and disillusioned anti-hero.




Exactly. How come you put things so eloquently? I think until WWI people in general didn't know how ghastly they could become, the impact of the ability to kill each other took them by surprise. It was no longer the play of the medieval kings who fought their battles on some field by the luscious woods while the ladies were waiting in the castles with embroidery or seduced the clerics. Here it spilled out into the open, they literaly choked on it, IOW the conflict became 'modernistic'.
And it didn't stop! They created the bomb.

Now history wasn't my gem of interest but I think that I need to set Hemingway into his own time slot in order to understand him properly. Stripped into the bare bones he becomes a skelleton, a dead a subject for creative writing 101 and high school curriculum and that gets a bit tedious and far too schematic. I need to buy him a drink and hear him out.

ziki
OK
shall I smoke the pot then...LOL..then I might giggle no matter what; seeing hills like backs of spermwhales
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