The Complete Short Stories of Ernest Hemingway Essay - Critical Essays

The Complete Short Stories of Ernest Hemingway

This handsome edition is named for Finca Vigia, the rambling country home in Cuba that Ernest Hemingway maintained for the last twenty-two years of his life. The collection is neatly divided into three parts: “The First Forty-nine” (Hemingway’s previous collection of short stories, originally published in 1938); “Short Stories Published in Books or Magazines Subsequent to ’The First Forty-nine’"; and, finally, “Previously Unpublished Fiction.” The range is impressive and exciting, from two-page tales such as “Banal Story” to such longer works as “The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber” and “Big Two-Hearted River.”

All the classics are here--"The Snows of Kilimanjaro,” “Soldier’s Home,” “The Killers,” “A Clean, Well-Lighted Place,” “Hills Like White Elephants,” and “Fathers and Sons.” One forgets how fluent in European languages Hemingway was until one rereads “Che Ti Dice La Patria” (with its Italian allusions) or “Wine in Wyoming” (with its heavy reliance on French phrases). Also, naturally, there is the unforgettable Hemingway style, with its trademark tautness of description: “I sat on the back porch and looked through the screen and the leaves of the tree at the heat and, away off, the mountains. There were furrowed brown mountains, and above them three peaks and a glacier with snow that you could see through the trees. The snow looked very white and pure and unreal.”

In the previously unpublished stories, there is one true gem: “I Guess Everything Reminds You of Something,” a story that evokes all the tenderness and frustration of Hemingway’s relationship with his own father. THE COMPLETE SHORT STORIES OF ERNEST HEMINGWAY is destined to become an instant classic: No library, big or small, is complete without it.