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on 30 January 2016
Firstly I have to say I've read other Hemingway books so I am a fan. However I could only give this 3 stars because to be frank I found it tedious and gave up less than halfway through. It just seemed to have a lot of repetitive boring dialogue so I just couldn't read any further. If you've not read Hemingway before then take my advice and start with 'A Farewell to Arms'. Now there's a book that will grab hold of your heart and squeeze it till it hurts!
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on 26 July 2014
Fiesta is one of Hemingway’s first successful novels, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t excellent – in fact, you can see the spark that turned him in to one of the greatest writers of the twentieth century, and the novel itself contains everything you’ve come to expect from him, from strong characterisation to booze and bull-fighting.

It tells the story of a week-long fiesta in Spain, following the story of a man named Jake and his love for a wild woman called Brett Ashley, who can’t be tied down. Jake follows her around everywhere, despite the fact that she leaves him for another man – in many ways, it’s a typical Hemingway story, but it’s told with such eloquence that it feels as original as it was when he first wrote it at the start of his career.

My only quibble is that it’s occasionally difficult to follow who’s speaking, and the dialogue is often bizarre – nevertheless, that’s probably because the characters are drunk for most of the novel, and Hemingway managed to capture the way in which drunks veer from one conversation to another. It’s probably because he was a drunk himself!
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on 19 October 2014
This was my first Hemingway and I was not impressed.I found it difficult to sympathise with the self-obsessed characters who seemed to have little or no regard for their actions on others. Hemingway's 'style' if I may call it that, I can best describe as 'Janet and John with blood and booze'. However, not to be too dismissive, I have now embarked on my second Hemingway, 'For Whom the Bell Tolls', and am finding it much more interesting in all aspects.
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on 5 December 2013
I'm not a massive Ernest Hemingway fan--his depiction of women often leaves me cold--but this is, in my view, his best novel by a mile. I could have done without some of the endless fishing descriptions, and once again there is no sympathetic woman in sight, but to be fair the men aren't much to admire, either. Despite the fact that almost nothing really happens, it is a surprisingly compelling read. That might partly be because I read it after I'd read the Paris Wife, a fictionalized retelling of Hemingway's first marriage (apparently in real life this period of time partly inspired the Sun Also Rises). Otherwise I'm not sure I would have bothered with this book had I not been made curious by the Paris Wife, given how annoying I found Hemingway in the past--and that would have been a mistake on my part. A book worth reading.
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on 16 April 2014
This is the first Hemingway novel I have read, and I felt it was time I tried him out. His writing is superb, pared to the bone but summons up an absolutely vivid picture of his life/friends/actions. Unfortunately, most of these are completely unsympathetic to the extent of being irritating. I longed to tell some of the characters to have a look at reality, get outside themselves and take part in the real world. There is an in-built arrogance in most of them which seems to allow them to view everything from a position apart, nothing really matters. Maybe I should try some of his later work, when he had experienced more of the real world.
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on 21 November 2015
Pithy and well-crafted - there is no unnecessary embellishment with Hemingway. His work is like an economical line-drawing by a great artist. Captures the decadence of the 20s, and contains some fine descriptions of things that many of us will find unpleasant, such as bull-fighting. The characters are mainly rather cynical hedonists, and I was not attracted to them, but I'm sure this would not have concerned Hemingway in the least.
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on 8 September 2015
The signature Hemingway novel documenting the lifestyle of literary Americans in Europe just after WW1 and Hemingway's own passions, documenting an upper-middle class romp from the cafe's of Paris to the Bullfighting rings of Spain. The story may not be as exciting as some of Hemingway's later novels, but the characters are absorbingly complex. Implicit in Hemingway's understated prose and succinct dialogue is a fascinating debate about what it means to be a man. Despite his reputation as an epitome of machismo, Hemingway, like the main character Jake, was essentially an observer rather than a participant. Jake doesn't really drink heavily in Paris, and of course is a passive spectator at the bullfighting ring. Indeed even his fishing performance is somewhat lacklustre. And does Jake's fascination with the bullfighting champion ("the most beautiful man I've ever seen") reflect an ambiguous sexuality?
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on 24 July 2015
Not much happens beyond massive consumption of booze and endless trailing about between bars, cafes and hotel restaurants. Jake seems like a "Spare Part" among his group of odd "friends" - perhaps that's the point? Plenty of compact sentences, and some good description of the Bullfights and of swimming at San Sebastian - where he seems most happy.
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on 5 November 2014
Disappointing considering it was in a book list of 'must reads'. The story is basically about alcohol soaked
Middle class intelligencia whooping it up on a trip to Spain. No real story and by modern standards somewhat naive.
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on 17 March 2013
Hemingway's first novel features a group of drunken, badly behaved ex pats living in Paris and dashing off to Pamplona for the bull fighting. Interesting for its autobiographical strain and the insight into Hemingway's circle of friends, it's easy to see why his first marriage broke up, but harder to like any of his characters. Still there is as sort of repellent fascination about the whole louche business and a foretaste of the writer he would become.
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