The quintessential novel of the Lost Generation, The Sun Also Rises is one of Ernest Hemingway’s masterpieces and a classic example of his spare but powerful writing style. A poignant look at the disillusionment and angst of the post-World War I generation, the novel introduces two of Hemingway’s most unforgettable characters: Jake Barnes and Lady Brett Ashley. The story follows the flamboyant Brett and the hapless Jake as they journey from the wild nightlife of 1920s Paris to the brutal bullfighting rings of Spain with a motley group of expatriates. It is an age of moral bankruptcy, spiritual dissolution, unrealized love, and vanishing illusions. First published in 1926, The Sun Also Rises helped to establish Hemingway as one of the greatest writers of the twentieth century
This was my first book by Ernest Hemingway and it made me a fan of his right away. Usually I don’t like books where I cannot relate to the main female character, but that fact didn’t bother me here at all. Instead I revelled in my dislike for Brett throughout the story. What a manipulative bitch! And everything she did was done with an innocent “I can’t help it, I am little woman” touch, I hated that! She loves Jake oh so much, but can’t be together with him (I never understood that conflict in the first place. If she loved him so much she COULD have been with him). So she decides to marry Mike. Poor Mike! But Mike is not here to satisfy her, so she decides to go for a little fling with Robert Cohn, just that the love struck Robert doesn’t recognize her for what she is and takes the affair way too seriously.
I liked how all the threads of this quadrangle – if you can call it a quadrangle – come together in Pamplona in the heat of summer and the excitement of the fiesta. There the young and pretty Pedro Romero, a bullfighter, comes into play when he is the next to fall under Brett’s dubious spell. And when she gets into trouble who does she call to get her out of it? And Jake, the fool, goes and rescues her once more, instead of leaving her to rot in the hotel room in Madrid!
So, you see, the plot gave me a lot to be angry about, but in such a satisfying way that I loved it.
Even the descriptions of the bullfights, something I hate, added to the atmosphere and made this even better. I could picture myself sitting in one of the street cafes, I could feel the excitement and the building tension in the little group. A fantastic read!
There is also a movie adaptation from 1957 that I would like to mention. I can’t recommend it 100% as it was quite melodramatic with Brett continuously declaring her desperate love for Jake and a rather awful cast. Ava Gardner as Brett and Tyrone Power as Jake are about as wrong as you can get (don’t ask me who would be right, though. I have no idea!) The only actor who fit in my eyes was Mel Ferrer as Robert Cohn. I always found Mel Ferrer quite creepy and that becomes the character Robert quite a bit.
However, if you like movie adaptations it is worth a try.
|Title||The sun also rises|
|Buy link||Buy The Sun Also Rises|