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Friday, 1 June 2012

Across the River & Into the Trees, Ernest Hemingway, Reviewed.


Having read Hemingway when I was a young man, and enjoyed what I read, I found Across the River and Into the Trees disappointing. Much of the language, of course, is American and leaves a British reader uncertain of meaning, as context frequently doesn’t illuminate. I felt the book was a little flat, to the extent that I didn’t bother to read the whole work. None of the characters grabbed my attention and the story seemed to be meandering and going nowhere. With such a long ‘to read’ list, I felt it was not a good use of my limited reading time. Certainly, had this not had Hemingway’s name attached, I would have stopped reading after chapter two.

I know his fans will think me mad, deficient or perverse, but I can give only my own judgment on the work and I was disappointed. I’ve read, and enjoyed, The Old Man and the Sea, For Whom the Bell Tolls and other works by this Nobel laureate. But this one failed to catch my attention, failed to draw me in sufficiently to persuade me to continue to invest my time in it. It may be that further reading would have redeemed the dull and uninteresting start but I wasn’t prepared to spend more time in finding out.

So, in spite of the usual quality of writing, expected of this past master, I can’t honestly recommend this book.

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