Love and War

A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway

Quite possibly the saddest love story I have ever read.  The overarching theme is the view of life as a chaotic and senseless thing post-WWI.  In terms of plot, it is the story of Fred Henry, an American in the Italian Army, and his relationship with a British nurse, Catherine Barkley.  Hemingway clarifies the nature of war at the time as being a new and intensely violent thing. It is not something that is understood, but is just undertaken while under the lull of alcohol.  The writing is fantastic and classically Hemingwayan.  A great passage, representative of the novel and the Lost Generation’s general thesis is found on page 327 of the Scribner edition.  It argues that life is senseless and that for any reason and at any time it takes you without meaning.  A great novel.

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