Bad introduction to Hemingway

“The Complete Short Stories of Ernest Hemingway” by Ernest Hemingway

Some say that the notorious reputation of Ernest Hemingway is eclipsed by the brilliant content of his books. Well, if that’s the case then I don’t see it here.

Before reading this book I was expecting it to be different from the author’s mischievous traits. But these short stories only confirm that the writing matches the character of the writer, the self-loathing, misogynistic, egocentric, alcoholic bully, with a hint of racism, that sees life from a cynical point of view.

But I kinda like that edginess about him, he’s like the dark chaotic mess that some people grew to love from a character, like Raymond Reddington or the Joker. It also serves a purpose for the bigger picture, as we can’t appreciate the hopeful optimistic ones if we can’t see the contrasting bleak views.

However, there’s only so much N words that I can handle before I felt enough was enough (at about the 54% mark). But I kept skim reading it though, in a writing flow that continues to be dry and unengaging, with stories short enough that I never get a chance to be emotionally invested in any of them. It’s safe to say that my reading experience really doesn’t match up with all the hype about Hemingway.

So naturally it got me thinking, is this it? Is this really a book written by that legendary writer? Like an abused child still seeking for love and approval, I began to think that maybe these 70 short stories are not the best introduction that reflects the real Hemingway, that the problem is not the book but my inexperience when it comes to reading fiction books.

So perhaps I need to read at least one of his masterpieces before I can judge any further. Because afterall, for every hater there’s a genuine lover of his literary prowess, so there must be something that I’m still missing.

Never in my life that my response to a mediocre book is to put another book by the same author in my reading list. But I guess that’s exactly what I’m going to do.