In Our Time
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In Our Time
Ernest Hemingway
Literature
Aug 10, 2018
Following upon the appearance of two small volumes in Paris, In Our Time was Hemingway’s first full-length book, and his first published in the United States. It is composed of sixteen stories, each followed by a brief prose interlude—often a paragraph, never longer than a single page—labeled as a numbered “chapter.” The chapters—scenes of peril and desperation drawn from the battlefield, the bull ring, and the annals of American urban violence—act as a kind of visceral punctuation to the stories, giving an ominous historical context. The disciplined directness of Hemingway’s expression—the way each word seems chosen and set with care, the modulation of cadence, the telling use of quiet—informs a style of stunning alertness as he explores youth’s conversion from innocence to experience. Although the character of Nick Adams is not central to every tale, the course of his coming-of-age shapes the book’s development. We share his youth and his admiration for his doctor father, the confusions of his first romance, his friendships, the aftermath of his wartime ordeal, and his fragile determination to make a home for himself in a homeless world. All the while, the something out there that’s not fooling infiltrates the space between the lines to intensify the hues of Hemingway’s attention to life, love, and death. Despite—or perhaps because of—its often miniaturist scale, In Our Time may well be the truest expression of its author’s prodigious gifts.
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Dec 2, 2018
"Stories"
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