The Snows of Kilimanjaro and Other Stories by Ernest Hemingway
Has anyone coined a phrase yet that is the equivalent of “Chick-lit” for men’s fiction? Guy-Lit? Macho-Lit? Hemingway’s short stories would certainly qualify for the title. This collection of short stories is all about manly issues – war, recovering from serious injuries, hunting, boxing, fathers and sons, gambling, drinking,and relationships with women.
The most famous, The Snows of Kilimanjaro, is the story of a critically injured man on an African safari waiting for a rescue helicopter. He knows death is near and he thinks about his life; regrets, sorrows, disappointments, his childhood, and the meaning of life. Interestingly, I just finished reading Paul Harding’s Pulitzer Prize winning Tinkers – also a novel about a man lying on his death bed. Tinkers was full of several hundred pages of self-indulgent eloquent lyrical prose. In contrast, Ernest Hemingway said more in his unpretentious simple every-man’s language in this brief 25 page short story – and in doing so, created a literary masterpiece.
Other stories include: Fifty Grand – a character piece about a washed up boxer, and The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber – a suspenseful and thoroughly entertaining tale of a husband and wife on an African safari. Three less-remarkable stories involve a common character Nick Adams, although they are not connected in any other way.
I’m not generally a fan of short stories. It always seems that just when my interest is at a peak, the story is over, leaving a distasteful void. But Hemingway manages to create richly drawn characters and delivers short stories with exceptional depth, realistic dialogue, and plenty of “manly” substance.
Rated 3.5 Stars.