The Sun Also Rises

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I’ve gotten 50 pages from the end of this book, and I have to say, it’s boring as hell.  I had higher hopes for a Hemingway novel, as I loved The Old Man and the Sea, but this one is just uninteresting.  It’s written very dispassionately, and has a lot of, “and then we did this, and then we did this,” with very little inner dialog.

There are a couple of noteworthy themes in this book, one of which is the aimless, bitter outlook of the post-war society.  All of the characters seem to just accept life as it is, with little hope for greatness, spending all of their time partying and drinking.  What’s especially frustrating is how none of the characters really fight for what they want.  There are a lot of unfulfilled desires.

One supposedly noteworthy theme of this book is the free-spirit mentality of Lady Brett Ashley.  I know she is an important literary figure, having heard her name several times before, but I just don’t see what’s so special about her.  I guess for the 20’s she’s pretty sexually forward,  but she doesn’t seem to have real independence as she jumps from one relationship to another, most of the time having affairs.  She is obviously in love with the main character, and won’t do anything about it.  I don’t know. . . seems like a poor example of an independent woman.

So far I’m sadly disappointed in this book.  I assume the last 50 pages will be as boring as the first 200, but I’m gonna plow through.

Update:  For the record, The Sun Also Rises ended just as anti-climatically as the rest of the story suggested it would, and I took absolutely nothing from it except a decent description of the Running of the Bulls, which I found entertaining.  Otherwise, the story ended with the main character and the leading lady both denying their true feelings, and being in the exact same position they were in at the start of the book.  Big disappointment.

5 thoughts on “The Sun Also Rises

    dust said:
    September 25, 2009 at 12:01 am

    other than “Old Man and the Sea”, you can leave off all other Hemingway books from now on.

      Mark said:
      April 25, 2011 at 5:25 pm

      You are wrong, dust. And narrow-minded to be so dismissive. A FAREWELL TO ARMS and FOR WHOM THE BELL TOLLS are both excellent novels, and Hemingway’s short stories are spare and striking like an Andrew Wyeth painting.

    blackdove said:
    September 25, 2009 at 4:11 pm

    Glad someone else agrees! I read the Old Man and the Sea, and loved it!

    Mark said:
    April 25, 2011 at 5:57 pm

    THE SUN ALSO RISES is one of those novels that represents its subject with its form; the novel depicts a generation disillusioned by the senseless destruction of WWI; the book is inhabited by characters that are calloused, disaffected, bored, and helpless and the brilliance of the novel is that it makes the reader experience the same (not unlike GATSBY). I have to be in a certain mood to read this novel. Stylistic novels that use their form to amplify content to the extent that TSAR does are not the best “novels” per se, sometimes they are experiments in style.

    Great blogs by the way. You are a very good writer.

    LetsEatCake said:
    April 25, 2011 at 6:02 pm


    As a stylistic experiment, he did an excellent job boring me to tears. I don’t think that’s why this book is considered a classic, however. If it were presented that way, I might appreciate it a bit more. . . Either way, it was like pulling teeth (for me).

    Thanks for your comments 🙂

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