Friday, June 4, 2010

For Whom the Bell Tolls by Ernest Hemingway

Title: For Whom the Bell Tolls 

Author: Ernest Hemingway

Publication Date: January 1968
Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Pages: 480

ISBN: 9780684803357

This review is my opinion and I have not been compensated for it in any way.

When I first started reading this book I could not, for the life of me, remember what the dang thing was called! I kept confusing it with Hemingway's "A Farewell to Arms." 

I read this book because The Hubble and I came up with an agreement that we would select a book for one another every other month. We started in May. The book he selected for me was this one. 

I approached this book assuming I would hate it. I assumed it was just some war story (The Hubble loves those) and it would be a "man" book. My assumptions were partially correct. This was a story about war...but it was also so much more than that. 

This was the story of Robert Jordan, the dynamiter. Robert Jordan is an American teacher who was called to Active Duty in the military. He was sent to the mountains of Spain to assist the antifascist guerilla units there. His main purpose is to demolish a bridge and assist in the attack against the fascist elements in that area. 
During his time with the guerilla group, Jordan begins to know and understand the many individuals who are engaged in the antifascist cause. Jordan quickly comes to care for individuals such as Anselmo, the old man, who is a hunter and hates to kill men. Pilar. the mujer de Pablo, who is considered barbarous. El Sordo...what is there to say about El Sordo? A brave man. A Strong man. A man who fought with everything he had. And Maria...Maria, the cropped headed one....

I was extremely surprised to discover the love story within this book. Jordan's love affair with Maria is an integral part of this story and far from the "man" book I originally believed it to be. The love that Maria and her Ingles, or Roberto, share moved the Earth. It is a love that will linger in my heart.

This book is both heartbreaking and beautiful. Though it is not a "man" book, neither is it a "romance." This is a book that will dig within the depths of any reader's soul, rip your heart out and replace it with the warm of each character held within these pages.

Hemingway has an amazing way with words. He is such an eloquent writer that he draws you in and makes you feel as though you were there in the hills with these people. One passage in particular stands out to me. The scene culminates in a bombing and the description of the ground rolling underneath the character is so intense and so vivid that you believe the ground has rolled under you as well.

Hemingway's voice is astounding. His writing style is...what can you say? How can you adequately put into words how much a book has touched you? Affected you? Engaged you? Does the thesaurus contain words and descriptions strong enough? Bold enough to give justice to the magnitude of feelings and emotions this book evoked within me? Still days after I closed the back flap over the last page...if I think about it too much I'm right back there. Right back in the mountains. On that hilltop. Waiting.

Now, I couldn't remember the name of this book when I first started reading it. However, now I don't believe I will ever forget the title of this stunningly magnificent novel. This journey through the mountains of Spain is not one that you should miss. I highly recommend you immerse yourself in the lives of these people as soon as you can. You will not regret it.

What books have you read lately that have touched or inspired you?
blog comments powered by Disqus