Thursday, March 15, 2007

'Pretty to think so'

I'll never forget it.

Memorial Day, 1999. Spent three glorious days at the lake. But I was really hanging out in Paris and Pamplona with Papa.

"The Sun Also Rises" is Ernest Hemingway's first novel, and his best. Jake Barnes may be his best written and most developed character. Plus, you gotta love a guy named Jake. Right?

I can remember reading the book on the back porch. The tough, terse prose hit me in waves.

I won't say it was like a first kiss. Nope, more like your first taste of chocolate. I'd never read prose like that before, never been as aware of how the writer wrote as much as what he wrote.

Watched the 1957 movie tonight. The newly-released restored DVD was a birthday gift from my aunt. Good flick; great cast. Makes me want to take Senor Bright up on his offer to go to Pamplona one summer for the big Fiesta. Who knows? I might even run with the bulls.

It's hard not to like Hemingway's stoic, troubled Jake Barnes. Wounded during the Great War, unable to consummate his feelings for Lady Brett, Barnes is a sympathetic, almost familiar, figure. One can figuratively relate to his inner struggle.

I tell ya, though, it's that last part that gets me. Gets me every time.

"Oh, Jake," Brett said, "we could have had such a damned good time together."

"Yes," I said. "Isn't it pretty to think so?"

Now that's mighty fine. Mighty fine indeed.


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