Although In the Skin of a Lion generally wins top spot when it comes to my favourite book, The Sun Also Rises is a close second. A glance at my shelves will tell you that I’m a Hemingway fan. I even have a t-shirt with the original, Art Nouveau book cover on it.
Hemingway was a brilliant writer – concise, understated, and extremely powerful – and he certainly doesn’t need me to praise him. Nor should any reader of the English language require my introduction to him. I’ve read the majority of his fictional writing (and a good chunk of his non-fiction as well) and The Sun Also Rises remains my favourite of his. In this novel I think he captures the world as he saw it the best. The idea of the “Lost Generation” is best expressed and developed here, through the character of Jake Barnes and his compatriots. Jake’s love and relationship with Brett Ashley is frustrating and brilliant and tragic.
Although the “Lost Generation” – as soon here and as generally understood – refers to Hemingway’s own post-World War One setting, there is a lot in the novel for any young person to relate to. The setting of bull fights and European train travel may not be familiar, but the feelings of loss and confusion and struggles over morality and the essence of love and relationships continue to be universal.
Past Friday Favourites:
In the Skin of a Lion by Michael Ondaatje