July 22, 2005

For Whom the Bell Tolls

For Whom the Bell Tolls cover

What can I say about a classic that hasn’t been said before?

The first thing that struck me about the book was the language used — Spanish translated into English in a from that’s quite awkward at first, but then quickly feels natural. Reading those passages was pure joy after the initial jolt; it seems that Hemingway used an archaic form English to represent the “antiquity and formality” of the Spanish language (from the Wikipedia article). If its true, then Spanish is the language I’m gonna learn next.

The story is nothing too special, but the way it is told is really nice. Robert Jordan (or Roberto as he’s called for most of the book) is an American helping in the Spanish Civil War. He’s been sent in to enemy territory to blow up a bridge for an attack with the help of local guerrillas. Pablo, the leader of these guerrillas is hesitant to help. There’s a lot of tension between these two, power dynamics & what not. Plus you have Roberto meeting María and they fall in love with each other. There’s tragedy, there’s loss — no war novel can be complete without that.

The book chronicles 4 days of Roberto’s life; but with periods of flashbacks and such of course.

The way the characters are described is great; you empathetically feel for them. This is the first Hemingway I’ve read, and I feel like reading more. But this sort of book is not for everyday reading…

1 comment:

nukeddevil said...

bee gees - for whom the bell tolls