- Mass Market Paperback: 496 pages
- Publisher: Arrow; New Ed edition (18 Aug. 1994)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0099908603
- ISBN-13: 978-0099908609
- Product Dimensions: 11 x 3 x 17.8 cm
- Average Customer Review: 274 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,354 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
For Whom The Bell Tolls Mass Market Paperback – 18 Aug 1994
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"One of the greatest novels which our troubled age will produce" (Observer)
"The best fictional report on the Spanish Civil War that we possess" (Anthony Burgess)
"The best book Hemingway has written" (New York Times)
Hemingway's evocation of the pride and the tragedy of the civil war that tore Spain apart. A young American volunteer is sent to handle the dynamiting of a bridge behind the lines of Franco's army. In the mountains he find the dangers and the intense comradeship of war - and he discovers Maria.See all Product description
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I found this a very moving tale about the human background to war, with feelings of love, fear, duty, ideology, etc. competing with each other. The idiosyncrasies of military command, with personal prejudices intervening, give insight (presumably based on personal knowledge) of the workings of a ramshackle rebel army. Hemingway's ability to bring the whole tale, and the characters, to life is really refreshing.
I did, however, find his use of medieval language increasingly tiresome as the book progressed. Apparently meant to simulate the Spanish informal "tu" form of address, to my mind it made the conversations sound thoroughly stilted. He couldn't even get his grammar right, and seems to have been confused as to whether thee is an object or subject pronoun, hence the solecism "as thee wishes". And what has his use of "nay" for "no" got to with it - unless of course he just liked using medieval language for its own sake?
No other foreign intellectual knew more about Spain than Hemingway and it shows when you carefully read this book.
The style of the book focuses on the fate of one individual who signed up to fight in the Spanish civil war and the impact upon them when the war turns against the side they have chosen to support.
It is an intriguing war story, capturing some of the bad things happening when chaos gets free reign in war time and also acquainting us with some interesting characters. Of course, from the title, you infer that a cloud of doom hangs over the protagonist, which creates a certain sense of foreboding as you read.
I love his use of language - but perhaps with my limited intellect I could cope with it in only small doses (the opening paragraph of another of his classics Farewell to Arms is the most beautiful, somber pieces of literature I have ever read - see if you can read a sample somewhere on Amazon).Unlike many other authors whose work I casually read I found I just couldn't put the book down for a couple of days and then pick it back up again. I would lose the thresd, the auroa and subtlety of the author would be lost...It demands your full attention. The audio versions however have been the answer to my prayers - to hear Hemingway's prose read so brilliantly by Campbell Scott has allowed me to truly savour Ernest Hemingway's genius. I also find I can pick up the story a lot better if I leave it for a day or so - indeed I love replaying sections again and again. His research and application of personal experience and fiction is first rate.
It helps if you are interested in the Spanish Civil War - which I am. Don't expect lots of fast paced action - but a lot philosophising, personal anecdotes of the characters. When action does take place though it is masterfully described. This book I think is one to savour - and unfortunately, without intending to sound pretentious, this is the best way I can describe it - intelligent, thought provoking, atmospheric, clever, masculine, gritty, soul searching and life redeeming.
If you fancy giving this book a try consider the audio version. I certainly will use this medium for his other works. By the way there is a great version of Old Man and the Sea told by the great Charlton Heston which can be obtained - if not in the UK then inported via the US.
The use of the word ‘obscenity ‘ in place of a swear word was overused and irritating as was the second person ‘thou ‘and ‘thy’ . Presumably Hemingway used this format to give an ‘authentic Spanish idiom ‘ to his tale .A modern copy editor would surely have managed this aspect better and not annoyed the 21st Century reader as much as Hemingway succeeded in doing .
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Very pleased. Thank you.
Second attempt at reading this book. But it really is over-long, with so many pointless conversations.
Over half way but giving up on it.Read more