Book Talk: #weirdathon update // The Snows of Kilimanjaro

7:00:00 PM

We're one week into Outlandish Lit's weirdathon and I'm loving it. It's given me the motivation I needed to power through some weird/challenging books that I might not have finished otherwise.

Case and point: The Snows of Kilimanjaro and Other Stories by Ernest Hemingway. I have a love/hate relationship with Hemingway, and while I started this collection of stories early in the year, I probably wouldn't have finished them if it weren't for this. Thanks, Julianne!

So, The Snows of Kilimanjaro. This collection was all over the map. Literally. Figuratively. Every way you can imagine. There were some stories I liked, some that threw me for a loop, and some that left little to no impression at all. I think the best way to share my thoughts is just to give you a glimpse at my notes:

"The Snows of Kilimanjaro"
-wow, Hemmingway I actually like?! Don't get ahead of yourself, past self, you've got several stories to go.
-is a frozen leopard on Kilimanjaro a real thing? Look into! I haven't.
-Harry seems like kind of a jack-ass. But like, a tortured, PTSD ridden person who felt like he had to give up his old life in order to cope. So I also feel for him.
-Yep, he's definitely a jack-ass. I feel like this is a recurring thing in Hemingway's work?
-In and out of counciousness was a weird/cool plot device. Also, an interesting way to show character development.
-Hyena crying is v. cool I have no idea what I meant by this.
-Wow, I actually really liked this short story! So much better than I liked The Sun Also Rises. The setting of this one reminded me of Circling the Sun - Beryl Markham and Hemingway did see the same Africa
-I feel like most of his work is semi-autobiographical

"A Clean, Well Lighted Place"
-Does everything Hemingway writes have to be so damn depressing?? Short answer: yes.
-"You have youth, confidence, and a job," the older waiter said. "You have everything."
-What is wrong with the waiter? I don't remember.

"A Day's Wait"
-a 9 year old boy with the flu is convinced he's going to die because, as far as I could tell, he's confused about the difference between Fahrenheit and Celsius. He is quite relieved to be convinced otherwise. Ummm...

"The Gambler, The Nun, and The Radio"
-"He was no more than the shirt on his back." "And that shirt is of little value now," Mr. Frazer said, "Perforated as it is."
-I do not get this story at all. Need to reread. I didn't. Felt like the ramblings of a crazy person!

"Fathers and Sons"
-autobiographical? Son speaks of his father's suicide
-"It was a good story, but there were still too many people alive for him to write it."
-Nick's father is remembered for teaching him everything about hunting and nothing about sex. He remembers the undertaker's work and his own experiences before his son brings him back to the present.
-I feel like he despises/fears his father when alive and admires him when dead. Although he could be lying to protect his son? Unclear.

"In Another Country"
-"He had lived a very long time with death and was a little detached."
-"I am utterly unable to resign myself," he said."
-"The photographs did not make much difference to the major because he only looked out of the window."

"The Killers"
-ugh, this dialogue. I mean, the characters are so stupid.
-I guess this is supposed to be a gangster story? Not really sure what actually happens. V. confused by a lot of Hemingway's work, which is ironic considering how blunt/straightforward his writing style is.

"A Way You'll Never Be"
-why are all of Hemingway's characters named Nicholas Adams? Some significance to the name? Common thread to the stories???
-PTSD + trauma are conveyed in his stories over and over and over again - no one is untouched by the war
-liked the stream of consciousness experience
-finished feeling like I had no idea what I just read

"Fifty Grand"
-(I took no notes for this one. It was a story about a depressed boxing champion. I think.)

"The Short Happy Life"
-Like "The Snows of Kilimanjaro," this one reminded me of Circling the Sun. In a good way. This and Snows are definitely my top two from this collection.
-"Why not let up on the butchery just a little, Margot," Maycomber said. "I suppose I could," she said, "since you put it so prettily."

Hopefully my crazy/scattered notes helped you get some idea of how crazy/scattered I felt when reading this collection of stories. I so often feel like I have missed the point with Hemingway, and I felt that way when I finished this. I'm honestly just relieved that the experience is over, and that I enjoyed a couple of stories along the way. Still, two stories out of ten doesn't really seem worth it.

Do you struggle to stomach Hemingway or are you a huge fan? I'd love to hear about your experiences below! See you next week for another #weirdathon update. I'm hoping to tackle the rest of Neil Gaiman's Trigger Warning.

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