Top positive review
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The shorter, the better...
on 19 December 2013
I might start by saying that I would not rate the book the full five stars I have given it, consider it more of a four-and-a-half stars (we might as well round up when it is that close to perfection).
Hemingway was a writer whose novels are hugely important in his canon and also to his identity as a writer, but as this collection of short fiction shows (along with many other collections of short material) he was equally adept in spare short prose. I would even go as far to say that his short stories are immortal, and the sum of their greatness surpasses that of his novels.
'Men Without Women' is a book that does not mislead the reader with it's title. I had read this some time ago and I remember an overwhelmingly masculine presence to the book, and yet, women readers should not be put off by this; there is enough beautiful writing for everyone.
Stand out stories from this collection include a personal favourite; 'The Killers' (COMPLETELY different to the movie versions based off of it, may I say...), as well as the brilliant opener 'The Undefeated' and the blisteringly short dialogue 'Today is Friday'. The only issue I had with the collection is that it jumps between overarching narratives, that of Nick in particular, and it sometimes feels bizarre to jump here and there, to these characters and then to the others, with no indication of sequence or linearity. This is a minor gripe, however. It is not confusing or a deal-breaker, it just means the book doesn't flow as fast as you would expect.
Overall, a must read for any man... and woman.