In your personal opinion, what is the best Ernest Hemingway novel and why?
There are quite a few I have not read but would like to, so I'm curious what everyone finds to be his best work.
I think the best (though not necessarily my favorite) is _The Old Man and the Sea_. I think it is probably the novel that conforms most closely to Hemingway's intentions. It is the most controlled, if that's the right word. For me, the others tend to sprawl and wander. His short stories really were his best work, IMHO.
I'll have to go with "A Farewell To Arms" mainly because the novel is so autobiographical. The novel mirrors Hemingway's experience as an ambulance driver in Italy during the Second World War and crosses the boundaries of love and loss during both peace and war. I'm sure that if he were alive today that he would admit that it was his greatest triumph because the story was so personal.
I also prefer his short stories and never really cared for his novels. Farewell to Arms, considered to be his best by most, was functionally an ok novel in my mind with historical and cultural relevance. But I thought the writing style was poor when compared to other writers. The prose was overly dull and simple as if it had been translated from Italian to English without any word substitutions. The dialogue was usually pretty inane and the conversations between the protagonist and his nurse girlfriend in particular were so bad that they were almost unreadable. But aside from the constant descriptions of the landscape around north-eastern Italy and the dialogue, the book was worth reading. It made some good points.
I will admit to not being the biggest fan of Hemingway, and for the most part I don't like his books. I will say the exception to this was reading a Farewell To Arms, that book was genuine and emotional.... it was fantastic.
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