Random House says:
‘Written when Ernest Hemingway was thirty years old and lauded as the best American novel to emerge from World War I, A Farewell to Arms is the unforgettable story of an American ambulance driver on the Italian front and his passion for a beautiful English nurse. Set against the looming horrors of the battlefield— weary, demoralised men marching in the rain during the German attack on Caporetto; the profound struggle between loyalty and desertion— this gripping, semi-autobiographical work captures the harsh realities of war and the pain of lovers caught in its inexorable sweep. Ernest Hemingway famously said that he rewrote the ending to A Farewell to Arms thirty-nine times to get the words right. This edition collects all of the alternative endings together for the first time, along with early drafts of other essential passages, offering new insight into Hemingway’s craft and creative process and the evolution of one of the greatest novels of the twentieth century. Featuring Hemingway’s own 1948 introduction to an illustrated reissue of the novel, a personal foreword by the author’s son Patrick Hemingway, and a new introduction by the author’s grandson Seán Hemingway, this edition of A Farewell to Arms is truly a celebration.’
Never having read a book by Hemingway before I was unsure what to expect and went into reading it with an open mind. I was pleasantly surprised to find that the style of writing was nothing short of beautiful. I have read various reviews that mention the word beautiful with regards to Hemingway’s writing but I seldom absorb other views until I have formed my own opinion.
There seemed to be a lot of speculation surrounding the alternative endings of this book however as I was yet to read the written ending such alternatives were of little interest to me. As I started to make my way through the pages towards the middle the story started to dip and I felt like it would never end. The relationship between Catherine and Frederick to me is that of a true love story that was able to withstand a war and everything that was thrown at it. The only thing their strong bond could not take on was death.
I was glad to get to the end of this book however on the last two pages in truth I didn’t want it to end. This is something that I rarely feel about a book but with one like this it was most definitely not expected. The middle did not set me up for the ending.
A love story to the bitter end that highlights points that are still relevant in present day relationships.
Out of all thirty-nine alternative endings I have two favourites and in order not to spoil this book for others I will only say that number 27 and 31. Read the book and find out!
- Ernest Hemingway’s A Farewell to Arms: A Review (nobodyputssarahinthecorner.com)
- Review: A Farewell to Arms (thenerdreports.wordpress.com)
- Ernest Hemingway Talks About Rewriting (silverbirchpress.wordpress.com)