“Men Without Women”

I have, in the not too distant past, been less than complimentary about Ernest Hemingway (To Have and Have Not). Undaunted, I decided to try “Men Without Women”, and I confess to be really pleased to have done so.

The stories are lean and enigmatic. The medium seems to suit Hemingway’s somewhat ‘punchy’ style, and the way he handles the frequent use of repetition within speech, helps the stories ring true.

They are a mixed bunch, both in terms of subject and matter, though the absence of women (except as topics of conversation) is a constant. Inevitably, some are more effectively finessed than others, and in a small number the sentence structure and word order Hemingway uses can seem clumsy. But these are in the minority.

In general the atmosphere Hemingway creates (which is often claustrophobic) seeps through the pages, and the majority of the stories are rewarding to read. The last line kicker at the end of “A Canary for One” is just great.

So, I think the conclusion is that faith has, to a large degree, been restored. Which is nice.