Ernest Hemingway – love him or hate him?


I’m getting ready to read A Moveable Feast, Ernest Hemingway’s memoir of Paris in the 1920s.  During this time, Hemingway wrote both The Sun Also Rises and A Farewell to Arms and became part of the expatriate community in Paris, which included Gertrude Stein, Ezra Pound, F. Scott Fitzgerald and John Dos Passos.  This group is commonly known as the “Lost Generation”, a description Hemingway made popular when he wrote The Sun Also Rises, and a phrase to whom he credits Gertrude Stein.


Hemingway died in 1961 and A Moveable Feast was published in 1964.  My copy of the book includes a foreward by Hemingway’s son, Patrick and an introduction by Seán Hemingway, the author’s grandson.

Now you either love Hemingway or you hate him.  I happen to think he is one of the greatest writers of all time, but many readers become frustrated with his style.  I have always liked his simple dialogues, word choices and descriptions because I think they make the characters and events all the more moving.  I recently read a review of The Old Man and the Sea  in which the reviewer commented that she thought she would like it better now that she was older but she still hated it!

I’m still working on reading all his books and short fiction, but you can check out my opinions of these:

“A Clean, Well-Lighted Place”
A Farewell to Arms
“Hills Like White Elephants”
The Old Man and the Sea
“The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber”
The Sun Also Rises

What do you think of Papa Hemingway?

the paris wife
If you enjoy reading about Hemingway and the Lost Generation, you may like The Paris Wife by Paula McLain.


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29 thoughts on “Ernest Hemingway – love him or hate him?

      1. You’re welcome. I have started reading this book. And I love the first few pages. And felt connected when he said he can start with a first “true sentence”. I knew exactly what he meant.

  1. I like his brief, clear style. Very journalistic. Very clear. More masculine than nuanced–a strange comparison, I know. Speaking of masculine, I have more respect for him as a writer than as a man.

  2. I can’t remember if I read him in college. I read so much literature as an English major and it was so long ago it’s all muddled. Looking forward to your review of it.

  3. I like him much more today than I did in high school or college. Moveable Feast is one I did enjoy back then tho. I read it in a history course on Paris and Berlin in the 1920. I had a bad crush on the prof so that might have skewed my rating though! 😃

  4. It’s embarrassing for me to say this, because I was an English major in college and a life-long reader. And yet I have never read a single novel by Hemmingway. Not one. Although I did see his house in Key West…..

  5. Your passion for Hemingway has me wanting to race to my bookcases and find some of his books which I read many years ago. I did like them then but can’t remember much otherwise. I had to laugh at your friend’s comment about hoping she’d like him better now she was older but still hated his writing!

    1. I think people have strong opinions about him. That makes me think about how we separate the “art from the artist”. I think you have to do that to appreciate talent and the creative mind – like it or not. Thanks for commenting, Annika!

  6. I have to confess he hasn’t been a favorite of mine, but I did like A Moveable Feast. I think it may have had more to do with the context. I’ve often thought I’d like to go back and read A Farewell to Arms. None of the others that I’ve read really spark my interest for a re-read though. I look forward to hearing what you think about this one!

  7. I like Hemingway – particularly The Sun Also Rises. Having lived in Europe with ex-pats he really captured the rhythm of their lives.

  8. I haven’t read enough to give an opinion. But I will. 😉 I can’t stand The Old Man and the Sea. I just… I can’t stand it. Though it was a long time ago. Perhaps I’ll try it again or some of his others.

  9. I love his writing and descriptions and enjoyed A Moveable Feast. There were some parts that made me wonder why he’d write something like that about a close friend, but the descriptions of coziness won out over everything else overall. His descriptions of women on the other hand…not always so great. 🙂

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