My favorite writer is Ernest Hemingway. He will
al-ways be remembered as a writer of prose in which every word had meaning and
where nothing was wasted. His style had, in fact, such a widespread effect on
British and American literature that dozens of imitators appeared and today
many novels are accused of being “pseudo-Hemingway”.
The son of a small-town doctor, Hemingway was born in
Illinois in 1898. He gained from his father an early love of fishing and
shooting, interests which were to colour his life and work. Hemingway was
educated at schools in America and France. His father wanted him to be a
doctor, but he became a newspaper reporter, and then served with the Italian
Red Cross as an ambulance driver in World War 1.
Severely wounded in the fighting, Hemingway used this,
as well as his boyhood experiences, as the material for his first books. In “A
Farewell to Arms”, “For Whome the Bell Tolls” and “The Old Man and the Sea” he
wrote three classics of 20th century literature.
“A Farewell to Arms” is a powerful anti-war story, but
it remains a love-story, telling of the ill-fated romance between Frederic
Henry, a young American serving as a volunteer in the Italian army, and
Catherine Barkley, a British nurse. Frederic gradually decides to get out of
the war and make a separate peace. He and his wife manage to get to neutral
Switzerland where they are happy for a time. But the ending is tragic, for
Catherine dies. This novel shows Hemingway's hatred of the world that “kills
the very good and the very gentle and the very brave impartially”. It is very
sad, but very interesting and very important. It is my favourite book.
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