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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Masculinity, machismo and matadors...
Written in 1926, Hemingway's characters are part of the 'lost generation' - those young people so emotionally damaged by WW1 that they are left drifting and purposeless, leading lives of dissolute recklessness. We first meet our narrator, Jake Barnes, in Paris, where he works as a journalist. Jake and Lady Brett Ashley love one another, but Jake has been left impotent by...
Published 9 months ago by FictionFan

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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars DO NOT BUY THIS EDITION
Not about the book itself which is marvellous, but rather the edition. Do not be fooled by the pretty cover, this is a cheap, shoddy rip off. They have obviously got a licence to print this book and have spent as little money doing so as they can. It is not a book, it is 24 cm x 18 cm (it says this in the product description, so it is my own fault for not reading this,...
Published 7 months ago by Booriv


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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars DO NOT BUY THIS EDITION, 5 Oct. 2014
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This review is from: The Sun Also Rises (Paperback)
Not about the book itself which is marvellous, but rather the edition. Do not be fooled by the pretty cover, this is a cheap, shoddy rip off. They have obviously got a licence to print this book and have spent as little money doing so as they can. It is not a book, it is 24 cm x 18 cm (it says this in the product description, so it is my own fault for not reading this, though to be fair, I don't know I should have to with a book). It is flimsy, there are no page numbers and it is littered with numerous quite dramatic printing errors. I could not get beyond about page... well, I'm not sure, but not many, and I had to buy a different, but considerably better, edition.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Masculinity, machismo and matadors..., 1 Aug. 2014
By 
FictionFan (Kirkintilloch, Scotland) - See all my reviews
(TOP 100 REVIEWER)    (VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: The Sun Also Rises (Hardcover)
Written in 1926, Hemingway's characters are part of the 'lost generation' - those young people so emotionally damaged by WW1 that they are left drifting and purposeless, leading lives of dissolute recklessness. We first meet our narrator, Jake Barnes, in Paris, where he works as a journalist. Jake and Lady Brett Ashley love one another, but Jake has been left impotent by a war injury, and Brett is not the kind of woman who could be happy in a relationship that didn't offer her sexual fulfilment. So Brett embarks on a string of sexual adventures, usually with friends of Jake's, while Jake drinks. And drinks. And drinks. Actually, so does Brett. And by about a third of the way through the book, I was toying with the idea of knocking back three bottles of wine, a couple of brandies, and an absinthe or two myself. (But then the 'lost generation' usually has that effect on me - privileged, feckless wasters living off Daddy's money, and blaming their dissipated lifestyles on the war. Poor ex-soldiers, of course, just had to go home, get a job and get on with things - they couldn't afford to get 'lost' in Paris or Spain. Poverty is such a great sat-nav.)

When Paris begins to run low on alcohol, Jake and a loose group of friends and acquaintances, including Brett and her fiancé, make their way to Pamplona in Spain for the annual bull-fighting fiesta. There is a lot of alcohol available in Spain, of all different kinds, and this, together with the fact that every man in the party has either slept with Brett or wants to, leads to lots of macho posturing - not unlike the more formalised posturing that takes place between the matador and the bull. Surprisingly enough, Lady Brett seems to quite like matadors...

Hemingway's writing style is an odd mix of sometimes overly simplistic prose with occasional passages of real beauty. Some of the dialogue is mind-numbingly trite - repetitive and dull - and he gets fixated on details from time to time, like how much a bottle of wine cost or what each person ate. I tired very quickly of the endless descriptions of binge-drinking and drunken quarrelling. But some of the descriptions are excellent - the dusty journey to Pamplona, the passengers met by chance en route all merge to become a strikingly vivid picture of a particular place and time. As they all sit around drinking in Pamplona, I felt I could see the various cafés and bars clearly, almost smell them. The interactions between the ex-pats and the natives are brilliantly portrayed, particularly the growing disapproval from the real aficionados when Brett's behaviour begins to threaten the traditions of the bullfight. And as for the arena itself, I found I was unexpectedly fascinated by his depiction of the rituals around the running of the bulls and the bullfighting.

The same patchiness applies to the characterisation. I'm not at all sure what he was trying to achieve with Lady Brett's character - but I'm pretty sure he didn't achieve it. She didn't come over as a real person to me at all. Her permanent drunkenness and ridiculously promiscuous behaviour may have made many men want to sleep with her, but the idea that they all fell in love with her was a stretch too far. I felt as if she was a puppet rather than a character, her behaviour merely a device to provide reasons for strains and tensions to develop amongst the group of men.

I'm sure screeds have been written about the blatant anti-Semitism in the book and I must say I wasn't overwhelmingly thrilled by his stereotyping of his Scottish character either. But honestly both characterisations seemed to me more like lazy regurgitations of racial caricatures than any kind of active racism, and it was the 1920s, so no doubt they seem more shocking to us now than they would have been then. In fact, I wasn't at all sure that he wasn't attempting to gently ridicule the prevailing anti-Semitism of his time - but if that was his intention, by leaving it ambiguous, again I feel he failed.

However, I feel we get to know Jake well and some of the others come over as fairly well-rounded. There is a good deal of subtlety in the way he slowly reveals Jake to us as the most resilient of them all - the one who is physically damaged, but with the most emotional strength in the end. The whole 'there's more than one way to be masculine' message may seem obvious in retrospect but it's actually fed through in a gradual and almost understated way, and I felt I only really saw what Hemingway was doing as I looked back at the book after finishing.

I'm going to confess that in the end the book impressed me considerably more than I expected. Despite my many criticisms, I found it an absorbing read that drew me into the world Hemingway was describing and made it a believable one; and my appreciation for it actually grew in the few days after I had finished reading it. I feel that it needs to be approached like an impressionist painting - when you're close enough to see the detail it all looks a bit messy and it's hard to make out the picture. But stand back a bit and the details recede - the constant descriptions of drunkenness, the repetitiveness, the banality of the dialogue - and the picture that emerges of a damaged man metaphorically rising from the ashes through a kind of examination of maleness is really quite compelling after all. 4½ stars for me, so rounded up.

NB This book was provided for review by the publisher, Scribner.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Poor edition, 13 May 2014
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This review is from: The Sun Also Rises (Paperback)
Fooled by the cover, the book is there alright but its printed in big flimsy pages so it doesn't really feel like a book. I could have made something similar with a pdf file, a printer and a binder. Book is a classic so thats not up for review here, the edition is muck though.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Great book, lousy edition, 29 Nov. 2013
This review is from: The Sun Also Rises (Paperback)
Classic book, let down by this poor edition. I was seduced by the cover art but was really disappointed when it arrived. It's more like a brochure than a book, large sized with fewer pages making it really flimsy. Worse still it was littered with spelling mistakes and random spaces placed in the middle of words, it became really quite irritating to read. 4 stars for Ernest - 0 stars for Stellar Books.
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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Hemingway is not for me...., 28 July 2014
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Amanda Jenkinson "MandyJ" (Cheltenham) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Sun Also Rises (Hardcover)
I have never understood Hemingway’s reputation or why he is so acclaimed as a writer. I just don’t get it. I simply don’t see what’s so good about his writing, and this his debut novel sums up all that I dislike about it. Essentially it’s a tedious story about a bunch of tedious and unpleasant people leading tedious and pointless lives drifting about Europe and getting drunk a lot. The characters have no depth to start with and certainly never develop or grow. There’s no plot, just a random sequence of meetings, mainly in bars. There are a couple of outings to go fishing and to see the bulls in Pamplona, but these don’t amount to much either. And the dialogue is so stilted as to be embarrassing. I cringed as I read it. So what is it about this book about a group of useless American and British expats that so excites Hemingway aficionados?
A point about this particular edition, though – it’s a very good one and of interest even for Hemingway sceptics like myself. It has a foreword from Patrick Hemingway, Ernest’s son, and a new introduction from Sean Hemingway, his grandson, both of which I enjoyed. There are early drafts, deleted passages, a list of possible titles and some manuscript pages, plus a nice collection of photographs. All this makes this edition an excellent one. Unfortunately it doesn’t make the novel any more enjoyable.
Read as an e-galley from Netgalley
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The Sun Also Rises
The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway (Paperback - 3 Sept. 2013)
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