Short Stories, Irish literature, Classics, Modern Fiction, Contemporary Literary Fiction, The Japanese Novel, Post Colonial Asian Fiction, The Legacy of the Austro-Hungarian Empire and quality Historical Novels are Among my Interests

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

"Aperitifs with Mr. Hemingway" by Jonathan Trigell (from Best BritishShort Stories, 2012)

Image of Jonathan Trigell
Jonathan Trigell was born in Hertfordshire in 1974. In 2002 he took an MA in creative writing at Manchester University; Boy A, his first novel, was his thesis for that course.
Boy A won the Waverton Award for best first novel of 2004; the John Llewellyn Rhys Prize, for best book in the commonwealth by an author under 35; the Italian Edoardo Kihlgren Prize, for a translated novel; and the inaugural World Book Day Prize, for the most discussion worthy novel by a living writer.
Boy A was turned into a film by Cuba Pictures, The Weinstein Co. and Film 4; directed by John Crowley and starring Andrew Garfield and Peter Mullan. It won a total of four Bafta Awards in 2008; the Jury Prize at the Berlin Film Festival and the Jury and Public Prizes at the Dinard Film Festival.
Jonathan's second novel, Cham, was shortlisted for the Boardman Tasker Prize.

Somedays you need a short story about an old man deciding if they should (in the words of the story) "do a Hemingway" and some days you don't .   For the days you do, "Aperitifs with Mr. Hemingway" by Jonathan Trigell would be a very good pick.  
The story is told in the first person by a man who served in the Korean War (1950 to 1953) which means he is at least in his late seventies.   The story is in the first person.  He starts out telling us he never was really one for much reading of books.   He read Hemingway at first because his beloved Rosa gave him one of her books.   He kept reading him as he feels Hemingway reduces things down to the basic truths with out a lot of falderal.  To him Hemingway wrote like a man who had been to war.   He said Hemingway's suicide was not a call for help, it was a decision that his life was no longer worth living.  The man, alone, living on a small pension in an estate (housing area for Americans) dominated by gangs of punks with no respect for the elderly or anyone else.  

He likes to go for walks but the punks disrespect him and are more than a little dangerous.  He is not a stranger to gun violence, he killed an enemy soldier in Korea.  The story takes an exciting and unexpected turn when he tells two street punks he wants to buy a gun.  I will not tell more of the plot as it is very interesting.  
I hope to read more by Trigell one day.

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