- Also check our best rated Travel Book reviews
Death In The Afternoon Paperback – 10 Oct 1994
|New from||Used from|
- Choose from over 13,000 locations across the UK
- Prime members get unlimited deliveries at no additional cost
- Find your preferred location and add it to your address book
- Dispatch to this address when you check out
Frequently bought together
Customers who bought this item also bought
Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
"Hemingway's style, at its best, is a superb vehicle for revealing tenderness of feeling beneath descrptions of brutality" (Guardian)
Hemingway's classic portrait of the pageantry of bullfighting, from the Nobel Prize-winning author of A Farewell to Arms.See all Product description
What other items do customers buy after viewing this item?
Top customer reviews
I have never seen a bull fight so I started reading with a fairly neutral curiosity. I was quickly drawn into the story. At time I had trouble following the individuals, equipment and the stages involved in the bull fight, but I still found the book to be enjoyable. At the end I felt that I had a much better understanding of the lure of the bull fight and what to watch for if I would ever see one. I had no background into the history of bull fighting or those enshrined in its pantheon. To reader interested in the history and art of the bull fight, this book would probably be an indispensable tome. To me it was a very enjoyable read. Hemingway has a way of telling a story that is entertaining, word after word. Even the seemingly endless narratives of the heroes of the rings held my attention due to the skillful writing employed throughout. I ended up with an openness to attend a bull fight, if the opportunity presents itself, and questions in my own mind about how the sport has evolved since the original writing in the 1930s. Whether you are a fan of the bull fight or merely enjoy a story skillfully told, "Death In The Afternoon" is a classic to be savored.
You've got to have the stomach for this one and it is a hard book to swallow if you're remotely sensitive to the plight of innocent animals. Some of the pictures are a bit too graphic though you do get the other side of the coin with some rather frank pictures of matador's thrown over bulls horns and even in one or two cases, lying dead in the morgue.
Hemingway does have a winning style though and he is intensely readable and somehow you get swept along even when the subject is uncomfortable reading. He is undoubtedly a brilliant writer and he has a passion for the sport. If anything it's a learning experience in the hands of a master.
If you like bullfights, you will like this book because Death in the Afternoon will probably expand your understanding of what you see. If you want to go to bullfights, this is a good book also because it will tell you how to do so in the most enjoyable way for you.
Most people will never attend a bullfight, because of ethical concerns, some personal dismay about their potential reaction to the violence and horror of the event, or due to lack of opportunity (bullfighting is mainly done in Spain and Mexico). Many of these people will have some interest in understanding more about bullfighting or the appeal and spectacle of the event. Death in the Afternoon provides you with a thoughtful way to satisfy any curiosity you may have.
Hemingway set out to write "an introduction to the modern Spanish bullfight and attempt[ed] to explain that spectacle both emotionally and practically." I think he more than succeeded.
Hemingway leads you gently into the subject as though you were chatting while seated at a comfortable table in an outdoor cafe on a pleasant afternoon sipping your favorite beverages. In fact, for part of the book, he invents an old lady whom he converses with for comic effect.
He tells you about his own experiences throughout beginning expecting "to be horrified and perhaps sickened." It turned out that this was not his reaction at all. He liked the bullfight, and saw 1,500 bulls killed before writing this book. He also reports that many people he took to fights often experienced different emotions than they expected. Women who disliked violence did not automatically dislike bullfights, and macho men did not necessarily like them.
The central emotion that good bullfights create is of grace in the face of death which is inspired by the danger the matador faces.
In the period about which he writes, the 1920s into 1931, bullfighting was in a decadent age brought about by a fascination with coming ever closer to the bull's horn and doing more and more elaborate cape work. In addition to the death of many bulls, this also brought about horrible injuries and death for virtually every bullfighter mentioned. That brings special meaning to Hemingway's assertion that bullfighting is not a sport in the usual sense but rather a drama about the bull's dying. But you will also come to know the tragedy of Joselito, Manuel Granero, and Maera.
Despite my objections to bullfighting, I was tremendously impressed by Hemingway's powers of observation. You will learn about so many miniscule aspects and details of bullfighting, that it will leave your head spinning. For example, a bull that erratically charges to one side or another has to be handled much differently in each pass than one who is like a mechanical bull and is very predictable. Bullfighters prefer the latter, but some of the best work is with the former if the bull is malleable. Does the bullfighter try to teach the bull, or simply survive the experience? The reaction of the bullfighter tells much about his character. The reaction of the fans tells much about their knowledge and character. You feel like you are looking at the world through many revolving kaleidescopes as images are considered in the context of other images, like an unending house of mirrors.
The book says a lot about character -- the character of those involved in bullfighting and the fans. Although Hemingway admires the honor of those who face death bravely and act properly in the bull ring, he also points out that too much honor is dangerous. In essence, he makes an argument against the values of bullfighting even though he is an aficionado.
He is honest with us, by also sharing his own failed experiences with trying to learn to fight the bulls.
The book is greatly aided by many detailed and impressive photographs that illustrate the points in the book that would otherwise be lost on the reader who has not attended a bullfight. There is also a 61 page glossary of terms to help you handle all of the new concepts he throws at you.
There are some incidental benefits for those who decide not to attend bullfights. Hemingway provides many detailed descriptions of the geography, weather, and characteristics of the people in different parts of Spain. I got several ideas for places I would like to visit on future trips as a result. At the end, he laments that he could not work in the rest of Spain into the book beginning with the Prado. I shared that lament, because a similar book on Spain by Hemingway would have been even more interesting and valuable to me. I can only imagine what his other wonderful descriptions would have been like.
I suggest you take this book and outline it to see the process by which Hemingway takes you from being a neophyte to a quite well-grounded person about bullfighting. How could you do the same for a subject that you need to introduce many people to? If you learn from his story-telling skills, you will be well-rewarded for your experience.
Would you like to see more reviews about this item?
Most recent customer reviews
Look for similar items by category