Monday, May 1, 2023

BOOK REVIEW: Big Two-Hearted River by Ernest Hemingway

I received this book for free from Netgalley. That did not influence this review.

Big Two-Hearted River is a novella by Ernest Hemingway, being re-released in an illustrated Centennial Edition. This is one of the Nick Adams stories and it has the typical Heminway-esque voice and style.

Nick arrives by train to the burned-out town of Seney, a place near the Big Two-Hearted River where he has fly-fished before and intends to fish again. He is alone. The destroyed town is deserted. Nick strikes out on foot for the river. When he finds a good spot, he sets up camp. In the morning, he rises early and goes fishing. The End.

The setting is given in minute, attentive, loving detail. The particulars of the camp are meticulous. And the descriptions of fishing are so step-by-step that they could be a how-to manual. Throughout, the reader can feel Nick’s quiet satisfaction in an activity done well. 

If you’re a fan of Hemingway, this classic short work will be deeply satisfying. If you’ve never read his work and are curious about it, this is a fine introduction. One of the best things about this particular edition is the insightful foreword by John N. Maclean, who gives a strong, straightforward analysis of what Hemingway likely intended the story to illustrate, which gives the novella added punch.

No comments:

Post a Comment