In continuing on with my passionate literary love affair with Ernest Hemingway, I read A Farewell to Arms.
Don’t make me pick which of his books I love most, because I really can’t do it. I devoured this book like a crazy person, I loved it so much. This book is based during WW1 on the Italian front, and is told in the first person narrative by Frederic Henry, a man that, if he really existed, would be really easy to fall in love with. It tells of the tragic love story between young Frederic and the beautiful British nurse, Catherine Barkley. The characters, in sharp contrast to The Sun Also Rises, are extremely likable people, and you want everything to work out for them (no spoilers here!).
What I loved most: How richly he describes Italy, the character Rinaldi, and the Italian language being worked into the narrative. Because I love Italy, obviously.
“I explained, winefully, how we did not do the things we wanted to do; we never did such things” (Hemingway, Kindle Location 443)
I’m pretty sure it’s clear why I liked this quote, but for those of you just catching up, I am a very firm believer that if you wait to do the things you want to do, you never will. Time doesn’t wait on you.
“Every time I see that glass, I think of you trying to clean your conscience with a toothbrush.” (Hemingway, Kindle Location 2789)
This line is said by Rinaldi, the Italian surgeon, and Frederic’s roommate on the front. After coming home from visiting the ladies of the night, Freddie would brush his teeth like a mad man, causing Rinaldi to tease him for trying to clean his conscience with his toothbrush. I don’t know, I just thought this was hilarious. And how awesome would it be if you could wash away your regrets with a toothbrush?
Have you read A Farewell to Arms? Who is your favorite character, and why?