A Son of War: A Novella and Stories (Soldiers Return, Book 2)

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How It All Goes Down

One of those institutions was literature itself. Nineteenth-century novelists were prone to a florid and elaborate style of writing. Hemingway, using a distinctly American vernacular, created a new style of fiction "in which meaning is established through dialogue, through action, and silences—a fiction in which nothing crucial—or at least very little—is stated explicitly.

by Art Spiegelman

The First World War is the watershed event that changes world literature as well as how Hemingway responded to it. Hemingway returned to Europe after marrying his first wife, Hadley Richardson. His passport contains a photograph of him as a young, though serious, man. Initially working as a correspondent for the Toronto Star, while living in Paris he grew into a novelist with the encouragement of such Left Bank notables as Gertrude Stein , Ezra Pound , and F. Scott Fitzgerald.

Nobel laureate Nadine Gordimer described Hemingway's motivation to return to Europe as an expatriate this way. After the war, "Hemingway never really came home again. And he made his choice of one of the causes in particular—of justice that was threatened in the cultural Mecca of Europe. As a correspondent, Hemingway chronicled the outbreak of wars from Macedonia to Madrid and the spread of fascism throughout Europe.

Although best known for his fiction, his war reporting was also revolutionary. Hemingway was committed above all else to telling the truth in his writing. To do so, he liked being part of the action, and the power of his writing stemmed, in part, from his commitment to witness combat firsthand. Before the advent of television and cable news, Hemingway brought world conflicts to life for his North American audience. In , for example, Hemingway covered the war between Greece and Turkey and witnessed the plight of thousands of Greek refugees.

In a sight that has become common to our time, Hemingway documented one of the hidden costs of war—the postwar displacement of whole peoples from their native lands. His vivid dispatches brought this and other stories to the attention of the English-speaking world.

Hemingway often used scenes that he had witnessed as well as his own personal experience to inform his fiction. Explaining his technique 20 years later, he wrote, "the writer's standard of fidelity to the truth should be so high that his invention, out of his experience, should produce a truer account than anything factual can be. For facts can be observed badly; but when a good writer is creating something, he has time and scope to make of it an absolute truth. In Our Time was published in Unlike Nick Adams and Howard Krebs, who return stateside after the war, Barnes remains in Europe, joining his compatriots in revels through Paris and Spain.

Many regard the novel as Hemingway's portrait of a generation that has lost its way, restlessly seeking meaning in a postwar world. The Hemingway Collection contains almost a dozen drafts of the novel, including four different openings—examples of a burgeoning, hardworking, and exceptionally talented young novelist.

His second novel, A Farewell to Arms , is written as a retrospective of the war experience of Frederic Henry, a wounded American soldier, and his doomed love affair with an English nurse, Catherine Barkley. Hemingway rewrote the conclusion to A Farewell to Arms many times.


Among the gems of the Hemingway Collection are the 44 pages of manuscript containing a score of different endings—which are often used today by visiting English teachers to provide their students with a glimpse of Hemingway the writer at work. At a recent Kennedy Library forum, author Justin Kaplan noted the number of delicate changes Hemingway made to the novel's last paragraphs.

When asked once why he did so, Kaplan recounted, Hemingway responded "I was trying to find the right words. After reading an early draft, F. Scott Fitzgerald suggested Hemingway end the book with one of its most memorable passages: "The world breaks everyone 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 that it will kill you too but there will be no special hurry. Though World War I is more backdrop than cause to this tragedy—Catherine's death in the end is brought about through childbirth not warfare—the novel contains, as seen in the following passage, a stark critique of war and those who laud it:. Much of the literature decrying World War I came from British poets, many of whom perished in battle. In A Farewell to Arms, Hemingway added his voice to the chorus, expanding the message to an American audience whose citizenry had not suffered nearly the level of war losses as its European allies.

To appreciate the stance that Hemingway took, according to Gail Caldwell, one has to understand how revolutionary it was in light of the Victorian understanding of patriotism and courage.

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Commenting on the days and months he spent writing the novel, Hemingway wrote his editor, Max Perkins , that during this time much had occurred in his own life, including the birth of his second son, Patrick, by Caesarian section and the suicide of his father. Making the country and the people and the things that happened I was happier than I had ever been. The fact that the book was a tragic one did not make me unhappy since I believed that life is tragedy and knew it could only have one end.

But finding you were able to make something up; to create truly enough so that it made you happy to read it; and to do this every day you worked was something that gave a greater pleasure than any I had ever known. Beside it nothing else mattered. Hemingway had an enduring love affair with Spain and the Spanish people.

He had seen his first bullfight in the early s, and his experience of the festivals in Pamplona informed his writing of The Sun Also Rises. The Hemingway Collection contains the author's personal collection of bullfighting material, including ticket stubs, programs, and his research material for his treatise on bullfighting, Death in the Afternoon.

So it is not surprising that as fascism spread throughout Europe, Hemingway took special interest when civil war broke out in Spain. Hemingway first encountered fascism in the s when he interviewed Benito Mussolini , a man he described as "the biggest bluff in Europe. In fact, Hemingway dated his own antifascism to and the murder of Giacoma Matteotti, an Italian Socialist who was killed by Mussolini's Fasciti after speaking out against him. In Spain, Francisco Franco , with support from Germany and Italy, used his Nationalist forces to spearhead a revolt against the government and those loyal to the Republic.

When civil war broke out, Hemingway returned to Spain as a correspondent for the North American Newspaper Alliance, serving, at times, with fellow journalist Martha Gellhorn , who would become his third wife. While in Spain, Hemingway collaborated with famed war photographer Robert Capa.

Capa's photographs of Hemingway during this period are now part of the Hemingway Collection's extensive audiovisual archives of more than 10, photographs.

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Hemingway's coverage of the war has been criticized for being slanted against Franco and the Nationalists. In a letter to Carlos Baker, Hemingway explained it this way. I tried to understand and evaluate all five very difficult and belonged to none. I had no party but a deep interest in and love for the Republic. Oh, and I read a lot, of course.

Books, magazines, and comic books. What is your favorite food? To say that my favorite food is pizza is like saying that my favorite thing to breathe is air. I was more likely to be out building a fort in the woods or inventing a fake country or playing video games. Where did you get the idea for Samurai Shortstop? I had no idea Japan was playing baseball that long ago, so I found a book about Japanese baseball.

And another.

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A dozen or so books later, and I had a story about a boy blending bushido with baseball and. Why is that opening chapter of Samurai Shortstop so graphic? But second, and most importantly, I wanted to scare Toyo, and, by extension, the reader. The first chapter is the motivation for everything else Toyo does in the book.

The same could be said of modern Japan: they understand why their ancestors did what they did, but they no longer agree with it. Is Ichiko a real school? Are the storms and the Clenched Fist real? You know those author notes you skipped at the end of Samurai Shortstop? Read them. Where did you get the idea for the Horatio Wilkes mysteries? I like telling people that Horatio is as old on paper — in my notes — as he is in Something Rotten. I never was interested in doing research into forensics though, so Horatio went through a lot of changes over the years.

I always liked his character, but never found the right story for him until I started writing young adult novels, and had the inspiration to make him seventeen. It was a perfect fit.

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All I needed then was a story for him. Are there going to be any more Horatio novels? I have ideas for lots more Horatio books — including a Julius Caesar take-off that has Horatio solving a murder at a fraternity toga party during a college visit, and a version of The Tempest in which Horatio spends a summer as an intern at a Disney World-like amusement park — but I think something crazy like Horatio getting made into a TV show would have to happen before a publisher would pay me to write those.

Where did you get the idea for The Brooklyn Nine? My terrific editor wrote to me one day and asked me what I would do with a story about baseball and different generations of a family, and I came back to her with the idea of nine innings — nine generations — of one American family and their connections to baseball throughout the decades. I was always able to find some story I wanted to tell for each generation — often more than one story — and I enjoyed reading up on American and baseball history along the way.

How much of The Brooklyn Nine is real? You know those author notes you skipped at the end of The Brooklyn Nine? Where did you get the idea for Fantasy Baseball? When my daughter was very little, she wanted to wear baseball jerseys like the ones I was wearing. My wife is great at sewing, and said she could make my daughter a baseball jersey. But what should she put on it?

Wendi made a couple for Jo, and they were a hit. Why did you choose to write about Jack? Jack and his wife Ruth took his story to Scholastic, and they immediately saw that it would make a great book. But neither Jack nor Ruth are writers, so Scholastic asked me to write the book. In particular, I liked that he survived. So many stories of the Holocaust of course did not end so well. Did you ever get to meet Jack? I worked on the book for a while before I ever met Jack in person, using what he and his wife had told Scholastic about his experiences in World War II and doing a lot of research on the concentration camps on my own.

A Son of War: A Novella and Stories (Soldiers Return, Book 2) A Son of War: A Novella and Stories (Soldiers Return, Book 2)
A Son of War: A Novella and Stories (Soldiers Return, Book 2) A Son of War: A Novella and Stories (Soldiers Return, Book 2)
A Son of War: A Novella and Stories (Soldiers Return, Book 2) A Son of War: A Novella and Stories (Soldiers Return, Book 2)
A Son of War: A Novella and Stories (Soldiers Return, Book 2) A Son of War: A Novella and Stories (Soldiers Return, Book 2)
A Son of War: A Novella and Stories (Soldiers Return, Book 2) A Son of War: A Novella and Stories (Soldiers Return, Book 2)
A Son of War: A Novella and Stories (Soldiers Return, Book 2) A Son of War: A Novella and Stories (Soldiers Return, Book 2)

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