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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An underrated work -- not Hemingway's best, but still great
Those who disparage this book most often do so on two grounds: It is not Hemingway's best, and it is a thinly disguised semi-autobiographical account of the author's own experiences returning to Italy in middle age.Both criticisms are accurate. To the first, I say: Judge the book on its own merits. It is a charming romantic tale, extremely well-crafted, with...
Published on 14 April 1998

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2.0 out of 5 stars Not a great Hemmingway starting point for me.
This is the first time I have read a book by EH and I chose it because of my love for all things Italian and because I know Venice pretty well. Before reading the book, I was aware of the 'lost generation' period and some of EH's friends at the time in Paris. In summary, I struggled with the book and whilst I understood the plot and sequence of the story, I felt that I...
Published on 17 Jan. 2012 by David Blair


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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An underrated work -- not Hemingway's best, but still great, 14 April 1998
By A Customer
Those who disparage this book most often do so on two grounds: It is not Hemingway's best, and it is a thinly disguised semi-autobiographical account of the author's own experiences returning to Italy in middle age.Both criticisms are accurate. To the first, I say: Judge the book on its own merits. It is a charming romantic tale, extremely well-crafted, with well-developed characters and great dialogue. To the second, I say: So what? "For Whom the Bell Tolls" also drew extensively on Hemingway's own experiences and is rightly regarded as a masterpiece. Writers are supposed to write what they know. I think the real disappointment for many Hemingway fans is that the book doesn't have much action. An old soldier's recollections of war don't match Hemingway's brilliant battle scenes of his earlier works. But the book is about an old soldier, not a young one. If you approach this book with an open mind and an eye for the kind of nuance and subtlety of which only a master writer is capable, you will be rewarded. If you expect El Sordo's last stand, you'll be disappointed. At the very least, it's an engaging portrait of Venice, one of the most beautiful cities on the planet, painted with words by a man who loved it and bled for it.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A mature and tender work, 27 Dec. 1998
By A Customer
This is the book critics love to slag off, because it is written by Mr.Redskin himself, but had it been written by somebody other than Hemingway it would probably have been highly praised. Hemingway has captured the relationship between the dying colonel and the young baroness beautifully. It is a book to read slowly, as one can play music slowly, but forget "A farewell to arms" and "For whom the bell tolls" before you start. Jump in the car with the colonel and his private chauffeur and let Hemingway bring you to Venice.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Stilted Genius, 23 Jan. 2013
This review is from: Across The River And Into The Trees (Arrow Classic) (Paperback)
ACROSS THE RIVER AND INTO THE TREES is a love story, Hemingway style. A battered old Colonel, dying from heart disease, and a nineteen year old Venetian Countess.The story is written in Hemingway's trademark style - sparse dialogue, with much left unspoken, and deceptively simple, yet labyrinthine, sentences. The book begins with the main character - fifty year old Colonel Richard Cantwell - duck hunting on a cold winter morning in Trieste. I mention the Colonel's age here as mortality and the recapturing of youth are the main themes of the book.

After the duck hunting scene, pretty much the entire rest of the book involves Colonel Cantwell relating the details of a weekend he spent with the nineteen Italian Countess, Renata. If the age gap were not uncomfortable enough for some, it is exacerbated by Cantwell constantly referring to Renata as 'daughter'.

It's an odd old thing.

Indeed, if you are not used to it, the directness of Hemingway's dialogue can come across as stilted and very strange. This stilted language, however, has a rhythm and a cadence that covers a multitude of inner worlds - each character communicating only what they feel safe to put words to.

ACROSS THE RIVER AND INTO THE TREES may not be the best known, or most accessible of Hemingway's work, but if you want a lesson in the unsaid, a picture of Venice, or a grapple with mortality, it's a cracker.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars moving story an American colonel and an Italian Countess, 27 Nov. 1997
By A Customer
Imagine yourself sitting in a white chair under a tree during autumn. The wind gently blowing on your face and the leaves touching you as they fall down from the tree. This is the moment you would want to read a soft yet powerful story. What better than Across the River and into the Trees by Ernest Hemngway. Set in Venice, Italy, this is love story of an Italian countess and an arrogant American colonel. Though unsure about their future, all that matters to them is their undying love for each other. As time passes by they encounter doubts about their getting married.Promises of marriage, a home and family is just one part of the story. Will empty promises be kept by the Colonel? Read on and you would know.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Like an iceberg, 90% of its substance is there but unseen, 2 July 1999
By A Customer
Romantic, finely constructed, delicate, real, touching. A good Hemingway novel. Good story of the relationship between a talented and very capable commander broken down by war and a young, well-off, intelligent woman. She does not try to destroy him. Hemingway spent a lot of time creating good titles for his works. They are not mere labels but an integral part of the whole, i.e. "Big Two-Hearted River," "The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber," and The Sun Also Rises. The title enhances each of these and the work would be lessened if the title were something else. Likewise, Across the River and Through the Trees.
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2.0 out of 5 stars Not a great Hemmingway starting point for me., 17 Jan. 2012
By 
David Blair (Karana Downs, QLD, Aus) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Across The River And Into The Trees (Arrow Classic) (Paperback)
This is the first time I have read a book by EH and I chose it because of my love for all things Italian and because I know Venice pretty well. Before reading the book, I was aware of the 'lost generation' period and some of EH's friends at the time in Paris. In summary, I struggled with the book and whilst I understood the plot and sequence of the story, I felt that I missed its intended purpose.

Without giving a plot summary, the protagonist (the Colonel) is set up unfavourably and events in his life are told out of sequence from his own memories as a flashback mixed with the present time. The past events include his time at war under various levels of command and while in the present, with a young woman he falls in love with while in Venice. In the present, the reader is informed that he is terminally ill and has been injured in battle. I'm not sure if the reader should feel sorry for him, but I didn't feel anything and couldn't get round to being absorbed by the story. Incidentally, EH appears to feature briefly as a background character in the story and the reader is positioned against him, which doesn't lend any empathy to the Colonel.

I'm not in a strong position to criticise but the writing style was very repetitive and I felt that the dialogue between the Colonel and his love (Renata) was extremely tedious.

Other than the events or memories within the story, I failed to pick up on what I felt I was missing. Having read a bit more about EH's writing technique, this may be why I was lost. It appears that EH wrote 'truths' with no peripheral sway and the reader, armed with only these basic facts, should gain much more from engaging their own imagination. All I managed to see was a beginning, middle and end...but not in that order!!

In conclusion, Across the River and Into the Trees is maybe not a good EH book to start with but I'm no expert. Having said that, I've just started 'A Moveable Feast' and at Chapter 3, I'm already picking up on the setting and it feels like I'm there with EH while he moves around Paris!
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4.0 out of 5 stars The unloved Hemingway, 1 Sept. 2011
This review is from: Across The River And Into The Trees (Arrow Classic) (Paperback)
Between For Whom the Bells Toll (which is my favourite Hemingway novel) and The Old Man and the Sea (which is most people's favourite Hemingway novel), there is Across the River and into the Trees, a lonely and unloved book. The story describes a sick American Colonel visiting his young aristocratic lover in city of Venice during the final stages of the Second World War. It is a regretful and introspective tale.

Someone once told me (I think) that Hemingway only uses the word 'said' to describe dialogue. That is not true. In this book he uses the word 'asked' for questions, and occasionally he uses the term 'told him'. But most of the time he uses 'said'.

The same person said (I think) that Hemingway does not use the word 'suddenly'. Actually, he does, but I only spotted it once.

Personally, I don't see anything wrong with a novel that lacks a beginning or an end, and which is stripped of the key narrative events, so that it consists of transitory sensations and thoughts. Hemingway trusts the reader to fill in the spaces. But he is much better describing men than women. I find his women unconvincing.

This book is experimental and will disappoint some. I think he was fine writer, but it was cruel to call him 'the most important author since Shakespeare'. Who could live up to a claim like that?
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Not what I expected., 29 Jan. 2014
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I found the story very difficult to grasp, as all we have is mainly narrative, covering about two days,. between a Colonel and a 17 year old, Italian Countess mainly about his wartime experiences. The dialogue is extremely stilted and quite unnatural, and of no interest to the story unless you are a military historian. I had expected something better as this was my first reading of Hemingway, and may be my last! Perhaps I am missing something.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Down to earth love, 1 Sept. 2004
This review is from: Across The River And Into The Trees (Arrow Classic) (Paperback)
Hemingway delivers us feelings on a plate.
This story is so real, impossible love like this (even though it's quite extremely so here) has happened to so many of us - this is pure joy, from start to finish.
If you have been to Venice or only simply Italy in autumn, you will thrill with delight at the thought of Richard and Renata's state of mind.
What this book was to me is a (short, in truth) ode to beauty and simple passion.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A surprising love story from 'macho' Hemingway, 4 Sept. 2003
By A Customer
This review is from: Across The River And Into The Trees (Arrow Classic) (Paperback)
One of the greatest love stories I've ever read - and I've read a lot. First read as an impressionable teenager, this book still moves me now (several decades later). As always with Hemingway, beautifully crafted simplicity. Read this and weep.
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Across The River And Into The Trees (Arrow Classic)
Across The River And Into The Trees (Arrow Classic) by Ernest Hemingway (Paperback - 3 Nov. 1994)
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