June 09, 2018
This is a part of the list of read books which I maintain. See all of them. You can only find here a blob of notes from the book itself and some thoghts on them. More often than not the actual book is more useful than what you can see here.
Title: The Sun Also Rises Author: Ernest Hemingway
Hemingway wrote about the opposition. His were the people who could no longer believe.
These days it is normal for young Americans to go abroad, but at that time it was not.
While every generation has its novel about dissipated young people drinking and drugging, the reason this book has survived is that it is a fundamentally philosophical work.
The war has left im impotent. He is deeply in love but incapable of consummating it.
The Sun Also Rises is an examination of what you do when everything the world has promised turns out to be false.
It takes time for a writer to find his or her voice.
You cannot learn writing from a critic any more than you can learn painting from an art historian.
Reading Hemingway you become aware of how omitting even a single word can greatly increase the power of a sentence or passage, how different sounds give different emotions. You learn the importance of every beat. The rhythms are tight, but he is not a minimalist; his goal is density; density of substance, density of meaning.
He also teaches you to observe. In any scene, whether in life or art, there are millions of details you might record. Only two or three actually matter; only those two or three will transmit the right feeling or meaning to the reader.
Learning to write fiction – learning to make any art – means learning to see life as we sense it, as we remember it, which means noticing those two or three things that really matter.
and belief structures, you have to look for what is authentic in yourself. All good things come from this; all good things come from what is inside you.
This is the message to be taken from both his art and life: trust yourself.
He was a nice boy, a friendly boy, and very shy, and it made him bitter. He took it out in boxing, and he came out of Princeton with painful self-consciousness and the flattened nose, and was married by the first girl who was nice to him.
and just when he had made up his mind to leave his wife she left him and went off with a miniature-painter.
He was fairly happy, except that, like many people living in Europe, he would rather have been in America
He was not in love yet but he realized that he was an attractive quantity to women, and that the fact of a woman caring for him and wanting to live with him was not simply a divine miracle.
It is very important to discover graceful exits like that in the newspaper business, where it is such an important part of the ethics that you should never seem to be working.
going to another country doesn’t make any difference. I’ve tried all that. You can’t get away from yourself by moving from one place to another. There’s nothing to that.”
I was sorry for him, but it was not a thing you could do anything about, because right away you ran up against the two stubbornnesses: South America could fix it and he did not like Paris. He got the first idea out of a book, and I suppose the second came out of a book too.
I could picture it. I have a rotten habit of picturing the bedroom scenes of my friends.
With her mouth closed she was a rather pretty girl.
I had picked her up because of a vague sentimental idea that it would be nice to eat with some one.
We would probably have gone on and discussed the war and agreed that it was in reality a calamity for civilization, and perhaps would have been better avoided.
I was a little drunk. Not drunk in any positive sense but just enough to be careless.
We were dancing to the accordion and some one was playing the banjo. It was hot and I felt happy.
I took a fifty-franc note from my pocket, put it in the envelope, sealed it, and handed it to the patronne. “If the girl I came with asks for me, will you give her this?” I said. “If she goes out with one of those gentlemen, will you save this for me?” “C’est entendu, Monsieur,”
She looked as though there were nothing on earth she would not look at like that, and really she was afraid of so many things.
Nobody ever knows anything.
They would both have the same news, so whichever I read first would spoil the other.
It is awfully easy to be hard-boiled about everything in the daytime, but at night it is another thing.
I’m just low, and whem I’m low I talk like a fool.
“Direct action,”, said Bill. “It beats legislation.”
Nobody that ever left their own country ever wrote anything worth printing. Not even in the newspapers.”
“I had a lot of friends. False friends. Then I had creditors, too. Probably had more creditors than anybody in England.”
Don’t you know you’re not wanted? I know when I’m not wanted. Why don’t you know when you’re not wanted?
It was like certain dinners I remember from the war. There was much wine, an ignored tension, and a feeling of things coming that you could not prevent happening. Under the wine I lost the disgusted feeling and was happy. It seemed they were all such nice people.
There is no reason why because it is dark you should look at things differently from when it is light. I figured that all out once, and for six months I never slept with the electric light off. That was another bright idea.
That was morality; things that made you disgusted afterward. No, that must be immorality.
To-day the waiters did not leave you alone all morning to read without asking if you wanted to order something.
He asked me how many times I had seen him in the ring. I told him only three. It was really only two, but I did not want to explain after I had made the mistake.
He doesn’t add much to the gaiety.
“Everybody behaves badly,” I said. “Give them the proper chance.”
Fifteen years ago they said if you wanted to see Belmonte you should go quickly, while he was still alive. Since then he has killed more than a thousand bulls.
Never once did he look up. He made it stronger that way, and did it for himself, too, as well as for her. Because he did not look up to ask if it pleased he did it all for himself inside, and it strengthened him, and yet he did it for her, too. But he did not do it for her at any loss to himself. He gained by it all through the afternoon.
I went in and sat down. The room was unstable unless I looked at some fixed point.
The three of us sat at the table, and it seemed as though about six people were missing.
It was pleasant to be drinking slowly and to be tasting the wine and to be drinking alone. A bottle of wine was good company.
The waiter seemed a little offended about the flowers of the Pyrenees, so I overtipped him. That made him happy. It felt comfortable to be in a country where it is so simple to make people happy. You can never tell whether a Spanish waiter will thank you.
No one makes things complicated by becoming your friend for any obscure reason. If you want people to like you you have only to spend a little money. I spent a little money and the waiter liked me. I would dine there again some time and he would be glad to see me, and would want me at his table. It would be a sincere liking because it would have a sound basis. I was back in France.
Next morning I tipped every one a little too much at the hotel to make more friends , and left on the morning train for San Sebastian . At the station I did not tip the porter more than I should because I did not think I would ever see him again . I only wanted a few good French friends in Bayonne to make me welcome in case I should come back there again . I knew that if they remembered me their friendship would be loyal .
That seemed to handle it. That was it. Send a girl off with one man. Introduce her to another to go off with him. Now go and bring her back. And sign the wire with love. That was it all right. I went in to lunch.
I saw the Escorial out of the window, gray and long and cold in the sun, and did not give a damn about it.
The room was in that disorder produced only by those who have always had servants.