Since 1997, you’ve been coming to BarnesandNoble.com to discuss everything from Stephen King to writing to Harry Potter. You’ve made our site more than a place to discover your next book: you’ve made it a community. But like all things internet, BN.com is growing and changing. We've said goodbye to our community message boards—but that doesn’t mean we won’t still be a place for adventurous readers to connect and discover.

Now, you can explore the most exciting new titles (and remember the classics) at the Barnes & Noble Book Blog. Check out conversations with authors like Jeff VanderMeer and Gary Shteyngart at the B&N Review, and browse write-ups of the best in literary fiction. Come to our Facebook page to weigh in on what it means to be a book nerd. Browse digital deals on the NOOK blog, tweet about books with us,or self-publish your latest novella with NOOK Press. And for those of you looking for support for your NOOK, the NOOK Support Forums will still be here.

We will continue to provide you with books that make you turn pages well past midnight, discover new worlds, and reunite with old friends. And we hope that you’ll continue to tell us how you’re doing, what you’re reading, and what books mean to you.

Reply
Contributor
jimgysin
Posts: 16
Registered: ‎01-27-2007
0 Kudos

Re: short story-yes or no


ziki wrote:

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.

I'm just as guilty as the next person. In the past, when I've been in the mood for a Hemingway fix, I've usually found myself reaching for one of the novels, even though the Finca Vigia edition was sitting right there alongside of the other works on my shelves.

In my case, it probably has a lot to do with the fact that I've come across some horrifically bad short stories in the past, and it's a once bitten, twice shy sort of thing at this point. But I know Hemingway's short fiction is good, which makes it even more noticeable when I find that it's usually not the first thing I think of when I think of his writing.

-- Jim
Contributor
jimgysin
Posts: 16
Registered: ‎01-27-2007
0 Kudos

Re: Style and sanity


fanuzzir wrote:

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.


This is a fair point, and one that someone else brought up earlier. (I can't find the post bookmarked on my end, so my apologies to the person who first brought up the fishing-as-therapy interpretation.)

You're both right, of course, and it just goes to show the danger of reading the collection out of order, especially when it's been a few years [ahem] since I've last read the short stories.

I don't know what my writings on my coffee-making ritual should be telling me at this point. I'm probably better off not knowing. (How's that for avoidant thinking?)

-- Jim
Contributor
jimgysin
Posts: 16
Registered: ‎01-27-2007
0 Kudos

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


fanuzzir wrote:

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 . . .


Equally interesting is how, in some cases, he provides detail down to the very finest minutiae on prosaic matters, but at other times leaves critical plot points (e.g. HILLS LIKE WHITE ELEPHANTS) completely unspoken.

I'm guessing that he thought that there was only one "right" way to trout-fish, for example, but many acceptable interpretations of the unspoken surgery or medical procedure.

Oh, and for the record: apparently, a message subject can not exceed 100 characters. Bummer. I tried to amend this one to read "A River Runs Through the Big Two-Hearted River Out of Africa and into a Clean, Well-Lighted Place." These technical constraints take a lot of the fun out of things...

-- Jim
Frequent Contributor
Posts: 3,107
Registered: ‎10-27-2006
0 Kudos

a dose of H.



jimgysin wrote: In the past, when I've been in the mood for a Hemingway fix....




That is how it works with him: use sparingly as a medicine. Nitroglycerine for the heart. LOL.

ziki

PS
http://nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/medicine/laureates/1998/illpres/medicine.html
Frequent Contributor
Posts: 3,107
Registered: ‎10-27-2006
0 Kudos

journalism & and the bloody river

[ Edited ]
Jim wrote: I went to the river. The river was there. The water was wet.
---------------------------
Hemingway's first experience of writing was from a newspaper and obviously he got the 101 lesson of a decent type of journalism: you have to be able to report, present facts and come up with accurate descriptions. As a reporter you should be invisible, you are the eye of the reader and the sharper you can write the better it gets.

Now you could try to describe the wetness. Common , I listen :-)

The crux is that Hemingway does that. He describes it, but not in words, he leaves it there, like a package with torn wrappings under the surface (and sometimes layered-i.e. in white elephants) so that if you are a little intelligent and you went through a couple of boxing encounters with life you can't miss it.

That is how EH transformed the bore routine of a reporter into a fiction style that influenced literature for generations after him.

What is your own # one ambition in writing?

ziki

Message Edited by ziki on 02-17-200704:20 PM

Frequent Contributor
Posts: 3,107
Registered: ‎10-27-2006
0 Kudos

none

[ Edited ]

Message Edited by ziki on 02-17-200704:14 PM

Frequent Contributor
Posts: 3,107
Registered: ‎10-27-2006
0 Kudos

Re: "The Big Two-Hearted River"



Seattleslew wrote:
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 me that is always (I daresay) the main impression with his writing, not only the short stories. Overwhelmingly so in The Old Man and the Sea. But if I look at his life (what we know of it) it is also how he lived (my guess), he never tried to say what needed to be said. And that was both his success and his fall.


Reasons to that may be different: some things you do not speak about because you are not supposed to, or because you do not dare to or because they are unpeakable, they are beyond the grasp of the language of the logical brain. There's no logic to speak about. He is a master of that kind of muteness (and I ,mind you, I refuse to call it silence that to me is somethign totally different).

ziki
Frequent Contributor
fanuzzir
Posts: 1,014
Registered: ‎10-22-2006
0 Kudos

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



jimgysin wrote:

fanuzzir wrote:

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 . . .


Equally interesting is how, in some cases, he provides detail down to the very finest minutiae on prosaic matters, but at other times leaves critical plot points (e.g. HILLS LIKE WHITE ELEPHANTS) completely unspoken.



Fascinating juxtaposition. There is a psychological theory about this that has been used in literary criticism: that layered, elaborate description always hides an empty center, and that the center can never be expressed except by indirection. This has also been used to describe what is unique about modern art.
Correspondent
willowy
Posts: 148
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
0 Kudos

Re: "The Big Two-Hearted River"


Seattleslew wrote:
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."



I believe you hit the nail on the head with this one. I sometimes feel like people don't go as deep into Hemingway as they should-there is so much more there than is on the surface. I say this because I am a reformed Hemingway-hater, when I was younger I took the stories at face value and found them so boring and, especially this story, monotonous. But as I got older I found that when I read his work I understood it more, like in this story when he talks in tedious detail about specific things he is doing....when you have/are going through something sometimes the only way you can through is to focus on the task at hand, anything more than that and you are overwhelmed by your reality.Coming from a family that has had numerous members in wars, I know that back then there was a stigma about dwelling too much on what you had seen and talking about how you felt. I remember stories about a relative coming back from the trenches in WWI and he had problems adjusting, he was quiet and never talked about what he saw. I thought Hemingway captured that mood and that feeling perfectly in this story.
-----------Willowy----------
Frequent Contributor
fanuzzir
Posts: 1,014
Registered: ‎10-22-2006
0 Kudos

Re: "The Big Two-Hearted River"

Willowy, that's an incredible connection to make. Yes there is a deep need in Hemingway to do the simple things in life over and over again and supplant the grotesque memories of trauma. If you think of his overall style like that, then you've got a deeply human drama of recovery unfolding.
Contributor
Abati001
Posts: 6
Registered: ‎01-28-2007
0 Kudos

Re: "The Big Two-Hearted River"



Seattleslew wrote:
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."





Thank you for your post...I did not understand the plot/underlying of these stories at all. You were able to add most perspective. Thanks again. =)
Contributor
Abati001
Posts: 6
Registered: ‎01-28-2007
0 Kudos

Re: "The Big Two-Hearted River"


Seattleslew wrote:


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.





Thank you for your post...I did not understand the plot/underlying theme of these stories at all. You were able to add some perspective. Thanks again. =)
Users Online
Currently online: 11 members 383 guests
Please welcome our newest community members: