The Short Stories of Ernest Hemingway
A Reading Life Project
Ernest Hemingway (1899 to 1961) is considered one of America's best writers. He won the Nobel Prize in 1954. Among his most famous works are For Whom the Bell Tolls and A Farewell to Arms. In the long ago I read most of his major novels but I neglected his short stories. Now I know that many, including Clifton Fadiman, consider them his greatest legacy. The total volume of his short stories in under 700 pages, way less than many a novel. I have decided to read all of them, though I probably will only post on a few of them.
"Old Man at the Bridge" is one of Hemingway's early short stories. It is set in the war against the Fascists in Spain. It is a terribly sad very beautiful story about the consequences of war in the life of an old man. The story is told in the first person by a man whose is assigned the duty of discovering how far the enemy has advanced. He comes upon a man in his mid-seventies. He asks the man what he is doing. He tells him he had to flee because of the advancing soldiers. His only concern is for the animals he was caring for. All the old man had was his animals, he stayed until he was ordered to go.
You can read the story if you like. There is deep pain in the last lines:
"the fact that cats know how to look after themselves was all the good luck that old man would ever have". I think I know what that means and I kind of wish I did not. This is a great short story.
Do you have a favorite Hemingway short story?