Review: The Complete Short Stories of Ernest Hemingway: Finca Vigia Edition

Once every blue moon a great literary treasure just sort of falls in your lap. You’re walking through a bookstore, or a library, or browsing online, and you see something and you think to yourself, “Self, this is a great literary treasure.” Chalk another one up.

I will not go in to a discussion of Hemingway’s style here. I will save that for the reviews of individual stories and novels. Instead, I want to talk about the value of the collection itself, and why every lover of literature should have a copy.

This collection takes its name from the farmhouse that Hemingway occupied for the last twenty-two years of his life. The collection is unique in that it contains not only the most famous of his short works, but all, and I do mean all of his short fiction. The pieces in this collection are varied: some haunting, some rough, some simple, some very short (one is a few paragraphs long), and some complex.

So, what’s the draw for running out and grabbing a copy of this one right away? Of course, most of the great stories here, the ones you take with you when you fall asleep at night, can be found in other collections. If you’ve been a reader for some time, you most likely have, somewhere on your shelves, “The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber” and “A Clean, Well-Lighted Place.” In fact, you may have the entirety of “The First Forty-Nine.” If you don’t, you should hop on the computer, or go to your local bookstore, and get this one now. You shouldn’t even keep reading this, seriously, you’re wasting valuable time. But, if you do already have “The First Forty-Nine,” the latter section of the book is the real draw. There are fourteen other stories in the collection that were published after “The First Forty-Nine,” and 8 other stories that remained unpublished before this edition.

If you are looking for an outstanding addition to your literary collection, and an outstanding read, this is it: all of the short works of one of the most influential writers in the history of American literature. I bought it without hesitation a few months ago, and my copy has already experienced some serious wear and tear.

Rating: A



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