Reading Confession No. 1: the Hemingway Harangue

feeding corn on the cob to a kitty, Ernie does have a sensitive side

feeding corn on the cob to a kitty, Ernie does have a sensitive side

I read fast. It’s just my way of doing things and I can’t control it–maybe I’ve had too much practice, like a sprinter finding it hard to merely jog? Normally speed isn’t really an issue with reading unless one is last-minute cramming for an exam. But my fast reading means that for years I hated Ernie Hemingway. I’d just bump over those choppy sentences until they became an irritating drone. They lost all heft and just became bleh words rather than music. I had to force myself to listen to Hemingway on audiobook–only then could I get in tune with his slow meter, with these words that are supposed to be told in a sad bar story tone of voice. I much prefer Faulkner’s drunkard’s tone, which is the rambling, clipped processional of a manic’s confession. That just soothes me.

Apart from anything else, I still get a tad pissed at the relentless horde of safari-going mountain-climbers with typically male complexes in Hemingway. They’re all such manly men. In trying to explain my aversion to a female friend and Hemingway lover, I could only say this: “You know how women get fed up with girly girl types and their antics in fiction? Men can get the same way about manly men.”

That said, does anyone have an example of a non-typical Hemingway male whose exploits I could read?


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