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In Our Time [Paperback]

Ernest Hemingway
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (32 customer reviews)
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Book Description

Jan. 31 1996
When In Our Time was published in 1925, it was praised by Ford Madox Ford, John Dos Passos, and F. Scott Fitzgerald for its simple and precise use of language to convey a wide range of complex emotions, and it earned Hemingway a place beside Sherwood Anderson and Gertrude Stein among the most promising American writers of that period. In Our Time contains several early Hemingway classics, including the famous Nick Adams stories "Indian Camp," "The Doctor and the Doctor's Wife," "The Three Day Blow," and "The Battler," and introduces readers to the hallmarks of the Hemingway style: a lean, tough prose -- enlivened by an car for the colloquial and an eye for the realistic that suggests, through the simplest of statements, a sense of moral value and a clarity of heart.
Now recognized as one of the most original short story collections in twentieth-century literature, In Our Time provides a key to Hemingway's later works.

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No writer has been more efficiently overshadowed by his imitators than Ernest Hemingway. From the moment he unleashed his stripped-down, declarative sentences on the world, he began breeding entire generations of miniature Hemingways, who latched on to his subtractive style without ever wondering what he'd removed, or why. And his tendency to lapse into self-parody during the latter half of his career didn't help matters. But In Our Time, which Hemingway published in 1925, reminds us of just how fresh and accomplished his writing could be--and gives at least an inkling of why Ezra Pound could call him the finest prose stylist in the world.

In his first commercially published book (following the small-press appearance of Three Stories and Ten Poems in 1924), Hemingway was still wearing his influences on his sleeve. The vignettes between each story smack of Gertrude Stein, whose minimalist punctuation and clodhopping rhythms he was happy to borrow. "My Old Man" sounds like Huck Finn on the Grand Tour: "Well, we went to live at Maisons-Lafitte, where just about everybody lives except the gang at Chantilly, with a Mrs. Meyers that runs a boarding house. Maisons is about the swellest place to live I've ever seen in all my life." But in the "The Battler" or "Indian Camp" or "Big Two-Hearted River," Hemingway finds his own voice, shunning the least hint of rhetorical inflation and sticking to just the facts, ma'am. His reluctance to traffic in high-flown abstraction has often been chalked up to postwar disillusion--as though he were too much of a simpleton to make deliberate stylistic decisions. Still, nobody can read "Soldier's Home" without drawing a certain connection between the two. Returning home to Oklahoma, the hero finds that his tales of combat are now a bankrupt genre:

Even his lies were not sensational at the pool room. His acquaintances, who had heard detailed accounts of German women found chained to machine guns in the Argonne forest and who could not comprehend, or were barred by their patriotism from interest in, any German machine gunners who were not chained, were not thrilled by his stories.
If we are to believe Michael Reynolds and Ann Douglas, this passage reflects the author's own dreary homecoming as a member of the lost generation. It's also a fine example of a surprisingly rare phenomenon, at least at this point in his career: Hemingway being funny. --James Marcus

About the Author

Ernest Hemingway did more to change the style of English prose than any other writer of his time. Publication of The Sun Also Rises and A Farewell to Arms immediately established Hemingway as one of the greatest literary lights of the twentieth century. His classic novella The Old Man and the Sea won the Pulitzer Prize in 1953. Hemingway was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1954. He died in 1961.

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4.0 out of 5 stars IN OUR TIME Feb. 7 2004
By Patrick
In Our Time is a great collection of Ernest Hemingway's early short stories, which he wrote when he was at his peak as a writer. I love the way he uses simple descriptions and dialogue to narrate them, giving a more natural feel to the stories. You can see his tough writing style beginning to show already at this point of his career. Most parts will be confusing to the novice reader because Hemingway really wants you to infer what the stories are about - he will not go right out and tell you. There really is no single theme to this whole book, but it basically shows how life was back in the 1920's. Many of Hemingway's works were based on his own experiences in life, which is very interesting. "The Doctor and the Doctor's Wife" was based on the author's own father, who was, in Hemingway's mind, a coward. "Soldier's Home" is an excellent story of a distressed soldier coming home from The Great War. "A Very Short Story" was based on Hemingway's own romance with a nurse while he was overseas during the war. "Indian Camp" and "The Battler" are two of my favorites. It has been said that the character Nick Adams was really Hemingway, and when you read the Nick Adams stories along with a biography on Hemingway's life, it is easy to see why. Each story in this collection has a meaning unto itself, and I highly recommend that you read all of them.
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3.0 out of 5 stars READ THE WHOLE BOOK -- ALL OF IT! Nov. 17 2000
A number of reviewers on these pages seem upset because they cannot find one connecting theme that ties these stories and vignettes together. I can only suggest that you develop the habit of reading the entire book, cover to cover. If you did, you'd notice that Hemingway thanks SEVERAL magazines for permission to REPRINT some of the stories. Of course there's no overall theme. He wrote the stories at different times, for different audiences, and gave them the appropriate slant for the periodical he hoped would publish them. This is an anthology of his early works, each of which was meant to stand on its own. Even the Nick Adams stories can be read on a stand alone basis.
Some of the stories do, in fact, reflect his love of outdoor sports such as fishing, camping, hiking, skiing, etc. In these, along with his bull-fighting vignettes, you can certainly see the beginnings of the Hemingway style of terse, to the point writing which accounts for much of his later fame. Reading his A MOVEABLE FEAST, in which he discusses the early years of his career, might further clarify things for you.
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4.0 out of 5 stars JOURNEY THROUGH HEMINGWAY�S TIME March 14 2000
"~Ernest Hemingway captures the heart of the audience , by illuminating the life of himself as portrayed by the main character, Nick Adams in "In Our Time." This book is a collection of short excerpts from Hemingway's life ; intertwined by even shorter stories that convey the morals of our society ."~ For example in the story " Indian Camp" Nick learns about life and death from his father ,while he is aiding in the birth of a Native American child , and the father of the child commits suicide. Later in the book we see Nick Adams dealing with the endless learning experience known as life. Such as in the short story, " Big Two-Hearted River " Nick experience the elements of nature and learns to survive on his own . of his character's. For example in the story "Soldiers Home" we see the character say's " God has some work for everyone to do , his mother said there can be no idle hands in his kingdom. I'm not in his kingdom, Krebs said," Also he is able to paint a vivid picture in your mind telling how the characters are living life while using a minimal of description. In section entitled Chapter IX, " The second matador slipped and the bull caught him through the belly and he hung on the horn with"~ one hand and held the other tight against the place, and the bull rammed him wham against the wall and the horn came out, and he lay in the sand and then got up like crazy drunk and tried to slug the man carrying him away and he yelled for his sword but he fainted""~ from the main sequence of the short stories.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Dazzling, perfectly crafted gems April 15 1999
By A Customer
This is by far my favorite Hemingway. To the newcomer: please don't be fooled by the simple style and the often elliptical exposition. There is so much more here than is evident on a first reading. It takes a while to discover the complexity of Hemingway's themes and the emotional strings he pulls because his style is so spare, strong, and perfect. Like small, meticulously arranged blocks, with brilliant vignettes between them as mortar, he builds a stirring and often frightening image of the twentieth century. Everything is here--young love, political violence, adolescent confusion, social displacement, racial conflict, industrial hegemony and decline, every sort of relationship fissure.
Sometimes his genuis is almost eerie--read "Soldier's Home," and try to analyse how such basic words and sentences can weave such a poignant, aching emotional web. His work had an almost magical presence in those early years, before egotism and the media made him self-conscious.
Even if you are familiar with his more celebrated novels, read this collection and you will be overwhelmed by the beauty, power, and honesty of Hemingway at his best.
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Most recent customer reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Handle Like Hendrix reviews In Our Time
I was not expecting to like IN OUR TIME as much as I did.

I thought it would just be a quick, fast read and then I'm done. But most of these stories were interesting. Read more
Published on June 22 2009 by C. Dey
3.0 out of 5 stars Wait on this one.
Buy a bigger collection of Hemingway stories and save some money.
Published on June 28 2003 by Samuel Dildine Stinson
3.0 out of 5 stars Wait on this one.
Buy a bigger collection of Hemingway stories and save some money.
Published on June 28 2003 by Samuel Dildine Stinson
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book by a great author
This book is an excellent example of the works of Hemingway, one of the best American authors of all time. It consists of a series of short stories alternating with sketches. Read more
Published on June 4 2003 by Thomas L. Cromwell
5.0 out of 5 stars For the love of great writing
This collection of short stories includes quite an array of Hemmingway's work and there really is no single theme to follow th entire way through, but if you love to read great... Read more
Published on July 8 2001 by Ben Guidi
5.0 out of 5 stars The best of Hemingway's career...
I think this book was the best effort from Hemingway. Both the structure, with the stories interspersed with the bits of commentary, and the style seem far beyond any of his other... Read more
Published on Oct. 17 2000 by Zentao
5.0 out of 5 stars Fresh as morning rain
This book was published three quarters of a century ago and everything in it still is fresh and clean as morning rain. Each short story & vignette stands alone. Read more
Published on Oct. 5 2000 by ABC
4.0 out of 5 stars The beginning of a literary legend, but not his best work
I appreciate this collection for what it is: the beginning of an American literary legend. Some of the Hemingway stories are truly moving and timeless. Read more
Published on June 20 2000 by Evans Thompson
5.0 out of 5 stars WORTH 5 STARS FOR 2 REASONS
reason number one: "indian camp." reason number two: "cat in the rain." two incredible stories that for sheer visceral force and crystal-clear prose surpass... Read more
Published on March 15 2000 by Andy Todes
4.0 out of 5 stars Who's to say?
Please read this book on your own credence. Read this book because you are interested in "seeing" vintage Hemingway. Mr. Read more
Published on March 3 2000 by David Merino
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