‘A Farewell To Arms’

(book review)

‘A Farewell To Arms’ is an antiwar, mainly autobiographic novel by American writer Ernest Hemingway. It follows a life of Frederic Henry, an American serving as an ambulance officer at the Italian front during World War 1. The parallel plot follows his passionate romance with Catherine Barkley, a British nurse.

In his unique journalistic style, Hemingway depicts all aspects of human life during those years: futility of war, deep sadness in relationships between people, sudden and all-consuming young love, shattered dreams and broken souls. Despite a heavy topic, reading this book is as easy as a morning newspaper. The author describes actions like a good journalist describes news: strict facts and circumstances with no emotion or personal feelings. However, it is through dialogues Hemingway expresses the deepest fears, the overwhelming pain and the desperation of characters. In addition, a great part of this novel is just Hemingway’s personal experience at the Italian front. This fact makes ‘A Farewell To Arms’ much more realistic and touching. So, you read it with ease, but once you close the last chapter you start to feel its power. The truth is, this book leaves such a strong aftertaste that you spend weeks thinking about it and feeling a whole tragedy of that generation.

One of the quotes says: “The world breaks every one and afterward many are strong at the broken places. But those that will not break it kills. It kills the very good, and the very gentle and the very brave impartially. If you are none of these, you can be sure it will kill you too but there will be no special hurry.”

It is, indeed, the lost generation. Not only I strongly recommend ‘A Farewell To Arms,’ I believe it is a necessity for anyone who claims to be intelligent and highly moral person. For this reason, it is considered “the premier American war novel from that debacle World War I.”

Review in stars: ★★★★★ (5/5)

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