If you have a little bit of time and want to read a great classic author, here’s the way to go. I found this in my copy of The Norton Introduction to Literature – Second Edition. I always remember liking this story and recently found it in my college book of American literature, which has traveled with me for many years! This story first appeared in Cosmopolitan in 1936.
Francis and Margot Macomber are on an African safari, a rumored attempt to add some adventure to a failing marriage. And from the outset, this marriage is most definitely doomed. The story opens following a lion hunt during which Francis has retreated like a coward, much to his wife’s disgust, and to the contempt of their safari leader, Robert Wilson.
Francis is a thirty-five-year-old boy, Margot is the type of woman men hate but are drawn to anyway, and Wilson does what he wants. The day after the lion hunt, they head back out to shoot buffalo and Francis undergoes an amazing and exhilarating transformation from boy to man. The dynamics between the three change significantly and what follows is a dramatic twist of events.
There’s plenty of bitterness in the dialogue and Hemingway puts you right there with these characters. His descriptions of the powerful animals they shoot remind me of the bull-fighting scenes in The Sun Also Rises. A great read, full of irony and real people.
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