The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway

The Sun Also Rises via Love at First Book

Photo Credit: Goodreads

My second Jazz Age January read this month is The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway.

After reading The Paris Wife, I immediately wanted to dive into a Hemingway, and The Sun Also Rises was the perfect one to read.

The Sun Also Rises takes place in the 1920s, telling the stories of a group of friends in Paris and Spain. They’re wanderers, rich/poor, aimless living, and spending a majority of their time drinking and partying.

Jake Barnes, our main character, who received what seems to be an impotence-related accident in the war, travels with his friends, experiencing Paris and the bullfighting of Spain.

Everyone is in love with Lady Brett Ashley, and she has had her fair share of lovers as well. But Jake, and many of the other men, will follow her to the ends of the world if need be, helping her out of trouble and giving her everything she needs.

The bullfighting scenes were enlightening and made me think about bullfighting as an art, but also as the fact that bulls are killed during it.  I don’t think I’d like to go see a bullfight, but Hemingway’s descriptions of the bullfights were beautiful and didn’t make the scenario seem cruel.

And then I think about the characters themselves, traveling aimlessly around Paris and Spain, and drinking all the time, without any cares.  But while they seem so carefree and happy, the excessive drinking covers up real life and doesn’t force them to deal with the issues at hand – like making money to support their travels, confronting friends about relationship issues, and being grown-ups.

Would you venture to Spain to see bullfighting?

The Sun Also Rises via Love at First Book


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47 thoughts on “The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway

  1. I don’t think I’d want to go see bullfighting, but yes I would love to travel to Spain. I would also love to read some Hemingway, because I haven’t done that yet. Besides my goals I’ve set for myself for 2014, I’m definitely thinking of paying more attention to classics! I will keep this one in mind when I decide to read Hemingway, everyone keeps telling me to read The Old man and the sea… have you read that one?


  2. I do not think I would be interested in a bull fight. I’d love to visit for La Tomatina though.
    You make this book sound interesting though reading The Paris Wife did not really motivate me to pick up books by Hemingway. Maybe someday 🙂 thanks for sharing!


  3. I read this straight after The Paris Wife as well, the one lends to the other so perfectly.

    I think I’d like to go to the city where the Bullfighting occurs, but not see it – I think it’s vile. I’ve only ever been to Madrid (which is beautiful).


  4. Good review, Rebecca 🙂 I think I understand what you mean by making it seem beautiful, I suppose writing could be that way, though in reality it’s a no here, too, I wouldn’t want to see the fighting.


  5. I read this book last year when I was craving books set in Paris in that era. It was my first Hemingway and I thought the writing was simply beautiful, even when it was about bullfighting which can be so cruel. I think that with his simple way of writing he perfectly captured how lost the characters were.
    And no, I don’t think I’d like to watch bullfighting.


    • I’m the same way – no bullfighting for me. But I am so glad you felt the same beauty in the writing of the bullfighting. I think killing animals for sport is cruel when thought about in general, but Hemingway didn’t make it sound cruel. That doesn’t mean it isn’t cruel, it just is another way to look at the situation.


  6. I’ve never seen bullfighting, though I’m not sure I want to… I’m happy to relish Hemingway’s description instead. 😉 It’s been a long time since I’ve read this book. Enjoyed reading your thoughts on it!


  7. I did the same thing, read The Paris Wife which made me want to read The Sun also Rises. I wasn’t impressed with the book though, I didn’t enjoy it very much, drinking stories and drunken boxing overshadowed the beauty of Spain. We went to Spain many years ago but I would never watch a bull fight or run with the bulls. The matadors are certainly brave but I prefer my animals cuddly and cute 🙂


  8. I am likely, and I should think, understandably, in the minority, but I’ll take that ticket to a bullfight. Like Monika, I find I am rather content at present with Mr. Hemingway’s description, yet find I am drawn to the history and culture that embraces the event, and not the cruelty. And for Hemingway fans who wish to expand beyond his classics referenced above, or others looking wonderful reading – look at Mr. Hemingway’s short stories. He must have over a hundred in print. As a writer, I delight in seeing what I’ll call the “author’s arc” as he developed his voice from the earliest pieces centered on his boyhood in Michigan to the War years and beyond. A wonderful example is his <1000 wds, “Old Man at the Bridge.” If you can’t picture that scene in your mind’s eye, you should stick to the dribble of moving pictures. 🙂


    • I’d skip the bullfight, but, thanks to Hemingway’s description, I can see the appeal. And I think Hemingway described the things you are interested in, like the culture and history, while mentioning but not diving into, the cruelty (with people getting trampled, horses being gorged).

      Thank you for the other Hemingway tips! I sat by an author on a recent plane trip and since he was reading a Malcolm Gladwell book and I, The Paris Wife, we started chatting and he had similar recommendations. He mentioned that Hemingway died with much of his work unpublished but in “publishing-shape” so he’s got a ton of work out there to be read!

      Currently, I’m reading A Moveable Feast, so I’m sticking with the Hemingway theme.


  9. I bet this was a great book to read after The Paris Wife, since Hadley talks about Hemingway’s writing of it. A Moveable Feast didn’t quite scare me off Hemingway; I think this will be next book of his I’ll read.

    I have no desire to see a bullfight — too cruel!

    Thanks for sharing this post for Jazz Age January!


  10. I would hate to see bullfighting! Like Leah said, too cruel! I would love to do what you’re doing though and read about an author at the same time I’m reading some of their work. It’s a really fun way to pair fiction and non-fiction 🙂


  11. My first Hemingway was A Fairwell to Arms. I read it (twice in a row) in high school even though it wasn’t assigned to my class, and I still can’t explain why I loved it so much! I really want to get into more of his work.

    Thanks for sharing! 🙂


  12. Sadly, I’ve never read most of Hemingway’s more mainstream classics. I loved A Moveable Feast and his small short story collection, In Our Time. I hated The Old Man and the Sea back in school. I have others on my TBR but just need to make the time for them. I’m glad to know you enjoyed this one, Rebecca!


  13. Pingback: A Moveable Feast by Ernest Hemingway - Love at First Book

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  16. As a foreign learner of English I am expected to learn Hemingway’s the Sun Also Rises in fact I am reading it but the problem is that I need more information on the story , information on the technique used in his writing “iceberg” and also on his relationship with stein gertrude


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