Posted in Books & Reading

The next book

When you have finished listening to a book on Storytel, you see a couple of buttons on the screen. One, for rating the book – the usual option one to five stars. One, for going back to your bookshelf. And one which says: To book suggestions.

After listening to Eleanor Oliphant, I chose the suggestion-button.

I browsed. Tested something by Steinbeck. Didn’t like the reader. Hemingway? Yeah! Why not? But which one? There aren’t the entire collection of his books, but with books read both in English and in Swedish put together, there are more than enough to choose from.

I chose “The sun also rises“, read in Swedish by Stefan Sauk who is a Swedish actor. (A good reader.) It’s a rather thin book, less than 200 pages, and is read in little less than 8 hours. I set it a bit faster. 6 hours… 😉

When we had History of Literature at school, we had to learn about Ernest Hemingway and the famous “Iceberg theory”. A lot of discussions around that, and is maybe something we should consider more of when we now are writing ourselves?

My writing teacher from 2006 to 2012 always used to say we mustn’t get lost in clutter, then we would lose our reader pretty fast. Less is More! she said.

And so it is!

In school, we were also supposed to read at least one of Hemingway’s works. Have absolutely no idea which I read at that time, if any, but later I have read a couple.

I think my favorite was “Across the river and into the trees” from 1950.

“Hemingway described Across the River and into the Trees and one reader’s reaction to it, using ‘Indian talk’: “Book too much for him. Book start slow, then increase in pace till it becomes impossible to stand. I bring emotion up to where you can’t stand it, then we level off, so we won’t have to provide oxygen tents for the readers. Book is like engine. We have to slack her off gradually.”

And that’s the elephant, isn’t it? The body high, the trunk and tail low…

I also liked “The garden of Eden” which wasn’t published until 1986, posthumously.

“The novel was published posthumously in a much-abridged form in 1986. Hemingway began The Garden of Eden in 1946 and wrote 800 pages, For 15 years, he continued to work on the novel which remained uncompleted. When published in 1986, the novel had 30 chapters and 70,000 words. The publisher’s note explains that cuts were made to the novel, and according to biographers, Hemingway had achieved 48 chapters and 200,000 words. Scribner’s removed as much as two-thirds of the extant manuscript and one long subplot.” (Wikipedia)


This one, The sun also rises, was published in 1926 and takes place in France and Spain. A travel from Paris to the Festival of San Fermín in Pamplona to watch the running of the bulls and the bullfights.

I don’t know whether I liked it or not. The main figure is the narrator and describes from day to day what he is doing, what people he meets, interact with, what he sees and think and experiences. All in Hemingway’s clean-cut way.

Is it boring? Yeahhh…. and no! I got hooked! Despite the endless fiestas, the wine drinking, getting plastered, the eating, the bars, the fishing, the woman the story also moves around, the desire, the jealousy…

And of course a lot about the bull running and the bullfights.

So they eat, drink, quarrel a bit, have friends – and attend a fiesta with bulls… boooooring!

And still! So amazingly, yet sparsely, written! You are there! You feel the heat from the summer sun on your bare shoulders. You taste the cold, a bit tart wine on your tongue, and you sense the pulse around the characters.

Without much doubt, I think all of you have at least heard of the Old man and the sea” published in 1952. And/or watched the movie from 1958 with Spencer Tracy as the old man.

No wonder Hemingway has become a “classic”, a “must-read” author. And I’m inclined to read or listen to more written by him.

I can only say one thing after this –