Original date of publication: 1929
My copy: 2000
Why I decided to read: Re-read
How I acquired my copy: Borders, 2000.
A Farewell to Arms has been called one of the best books to come out of WWI. In it, Hemingway loosely fictionalizes his experience working as an ambulance driver on the Italian front, as well as his relationship with Agnes von Kurowsky, a Red Cross nurse he met while recuperating from shrapnel wounds. In A Farewell to Arms, Lieutenant (Tenente) Frederick Henry is a driver in the Italian ambulance corps who develops a relationship with a Scottish VAD nurse, Catherine Barkley.
Hemingway’s themes deal with death, women, war and love, all of which of course are present here. There’s a kind of detached unemotionalism about A Farewell to Arms; even death doesn’t see to faze Henry. Yes, it’s brutal, but the tone of the book reflects the overall themes that play out here. Hemingway’s style is sparse, laconic; he doesn’t use flowery language to describe anything. In all, a fairly stunning novel.