So, up until very recently, I'd always avoided Ernest Hemingway because I assumed that his books were basically all macho bull-fighting. Which is a ridiculous assumption to make, but that's the way my brain seems to work. I develop these completely irrational prejudices and for the most part, stick to them. (I can't stand Ethan Hawke, for example. Haven't quite figured out what it is about him, but I just know that I don't like him. Also, I won't read books about horses. Or watch movies about horses).
Anyway. I'm dumb. I'm dumb because I didn't give him a chance sooner. I'm dumb because I was stubborn for so long. (For anyone who's wondering how the heck I made it through college as an English major without reading any Hemingway, my answer is this: I have no idea).
I finally broke down and read this partially because of Tobias Wolff's Old School (which I adored), and partially because I've decided that I need to read more classics--including and especially the ones that I've been avoiding for so long. At points I was reminded of both Gertrude Stein and Raymond Carver--and all the way through, I thought of the students in Old School emulating Hemingway's style. (Now I want to go back and re-read Old School--as if I really needed an excuse). My favorites were varied--I especially loved "The End of Something", "The Battler", "Indian Camp" and "Soldier's Home." (Three of them are Nick Adams stories).
Reading more classics just got a whole lot easier. I'm expecting to barrel though more E. H. this year. Except that I just came across Joseph Conrad's The Secret Agent and I suspect that I might have to set aside my Ibbotson and pick that one up. Life is rough.