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“Ah, just finished reading this tonight in my car. Snow flakes were falling all around me and I just sat there...must have been 10 minutes, just sitting there, spaced out, not really thinking about anything, but feeling profoundly moved.
“Regarded as a highly revered work of modern literature, I liken it more to a great men's adventure novel set during the Spanish Civil War. Nothing epic here, just the subtle niceties of Hemingway's concise and tight writing. This, an excerpt from the book concerning the main character's sighting of a squirrel. Each and every word is the stroke of a brush on a palette, and the period at the end of the paragraph the realization that you are looking at a beautiful word painting: "He saw the squirrel's eyes, small and bright and watched his tail jerk in excitement. Then the squirrel crossed to another tree, moving on the ground in long, small-pawed, tail exaggerated bounds." Nothing profound here, just a word painting excerpt of Hemingway's great writing style. ”Edward B wrote this review Thursday, November 21, 2013. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“Ernest my love...you will be the death of me. Next year running with the bulls in Pamplona and maybe a bull fight. Sorry my animal loving friends. Maybe I'll opt for the French style the subs in a simple pulling of a ring from the forehead of the bull instead of a sword in the heart. And why is it that the older I get the more I feel like my entrepreneurial dreams read like The Old Man and the Sea? Maybe I should write The Old Man and the Valley? ”Michael Droz wrote this review Saturday, November 9, 2013. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“Took me over a year to read this from cover to cover. A little too long, but so many excellent moments. El Sordo's last stand, Pilar's memory of the execution of the fascist village, and Robert Jordan's love for Maria. The ending made me cry, to tell the truth, and I'm not ashamed of it.”Will Fagan wrote this review Tuesday, November 5, 2013. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“A good movie was made from this book, as always the cynical Hemingway tells of flawed heroes and reluctant warriors. Good story.”CA Portnellus wrote this review Thursday, October 24, 2013. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“Robert Jordan, an American professor, is sent to demolish a bridge while fighting for the Republicans during the Spanish civil war. He is aided by a band of local guerrillas. For 4 days he deals with the themes addressed in the story: the brutality of war, death, suicide, loyalty, camaraderie, conflict, dignity, love, life, and sacrifice. I love Hemingway's style which is very rhythmic, clear, and direct, drawing the reader beyond the words and into the sensations & emotions of the story. The title is an excerpt from John Donne's 1625 writings, "No man is an Iland, intire of it selfe; every man is a peece of the Continent, a part of the maine; if a Clod bee washed away by the Sea, Europe is the lesse, as well as if a Promontorie were...any mans death diminishes me, because I am involved in Mankinde; And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; It tolls for thee."”Valerie J K wrote this review Monday, October 14, 2013. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“One of, if not my favorite classic. I loved it for a lot of reasons. Setting, writing, time period, war, characters, and even the love story. ”Kasey C wrote this review Wednesday, October 9, 2013. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“Book on CD performed by Campbell Scott.
Robert Jordan is a young American who has joined the International Brigades in support of antifascist guerillas in the mountains of Spain. His orders are to blow up a bridge behind enemy lines in order to facilitate a larger attack, and his only troops will be the loosely organized bands of gypsies and peasants who are hiding in the caves and shelters of the area. The events over the three days from his arrival at the camp to the attack force Robert Jordan to question his own role in this futile war as he learns more about the partisans and the ways they have been changed by the conflict.
I like Hemingway’s style of writing; his short declarative sentences tell the story in a way that puts the reader right in the action. However, he seemed to get lost in this book several times. I think he was responding to critics of his style and trying too hard to expound on certain issues. There are long monologues and internal “dialogues” that do little to advance the story, and sometimes completely bog it down. And the love scenes between Maria and Robert are awkward (even though the earth moved). There was no romantic or sexual tension leading up to their union. They seem to fall instantly in love and the reader sees little reason for this other than mutual availability.
However, the battle scenes – especially when Sordo defends his hilltop position and the final scenes at the bridge – are exceptionally well done, realistic without being excessively gory. I particularly liked the way he revealed strategies and maneuvers, and that he showed the human frailties of combatants on both sides of the war. On the whole I enjoyed it and can see why it is considered a classic. While there are some problems with the book, when it’s good, it’s very good. The ending is brilliant.
Campbell Scott did a fine job of the audio version. He has good pacing, sufficient skill with various voices to differentiate the characters, and good Spanish pronunciation. Hemingway wrote the novel using a very formal and somewhat stilted style of dialogue. The use of “thee” “thou,” and “thy” bothers many readers, but listening to Scott made it clear for me that Hemingway was trying to capture a sense of the formality of the Catalan language. I’ve also read criticism of the censorship because typical expletives are replaced with words such as “obscenity” or “unprintable.” (e.g. “Go and obscenity thyself.”) Hemingway actually wrote the book this way, and the reader’s imagination can easily fill in the unprintable blanks.
“Wonderful read. fully enjoyed my first book by Emmingway. loved it!”Andy J wrote this review Thursday, August 29, 2013. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“Finally!!!”Andrej G. wrote this review Sunday, August 25, 2013. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“This was an okay book about a demolitionist named Robert Jordan. Robert is from the U.S. and travels to Spain during their civil war to help the rebels. At the beginning of the book he acts more like a robot without a heart or emotions. Throughout the book he starts to develop emotions through his feelings for Maria, an young Spanish girl that was captured when her mother and father were killed for being Republican. The books time frame only last a few days but has so much content that if you don't pay good attention you might think it goes on for weeks. Through the book he meets many more rebels including Pablo the once great leader but now coward, Pilar the ugly, Anselmo the old active man, Santiago a.k.a. El Sordo (the deaf), and Rafael the gypsy. His mission in the book is to destroy a bridge when General Golz, a Russian general, launches his attack so it is impossible for the Spanish military to bring in reinforcements.
The author, Ernest Hemingway, always uses a lot of imagery in his books and For Whom the Bell Tolls is no exception. One of the major uses of imagery in this book is rabbits. Robert calls Maria his "little rabbit" to symbolize her innocence and ignorance even though her physical innocence was taken from her when she was captured. Hemingway also uses rabbits to foreshadow events. Rafael loved hunting rabbits and so when he killed two the were making love in the snow it foreshadowed that Robert and Maria were going to be split.
I liked the book but I would not recommend it for anyone below high school because, although most of it is in Spanish, there is A LOT of cussing and some very subtle sexual references. A lot of it is also hard to understand because quite a bit of the book is in Spanish and you can not use Google Translate for a lot of it because it the literal meanings that the translator gives you would make no sense of the dialogue in the book.”