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Topic: Sea Saga

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Subject: Sea Saga
Date Posted: 2/27/2011 8:26 PM ET
Member Since: 7/19/2010
Posts: 3,673
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I finished The Old Man and The Sea by Ernest Hemingway.  This was my first experience with Ernest Hemingway, and while I thought the book was good I wasn't overly impressed with it.  I can't put my finger on what did not impress me really, but I felt kind of blah about it.

I would be willing to read another book by Hemingway to see if I like another better.  I have not read many sea sagas either, so it may be that I am not overly fond of that genre?

Can others share either their favorite Hemingway or their favorite sea saga?

Date Posted: 2/27/2011 8:41 PM ET
Member Since: 3/27/2009
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while I thought the book was good I wasn't overly impressed with it.  I can't put my finger on what did not impress me really, but ...

...I felt kind of blah about it.

 

While reading the quote on top I was thinking to myself, That's because it's blah. Then you went on to write the second quote. 

and I laughed because it's true. Blah beyond measure. 

TOMATS is the first Hemingway book I ever read and my reaction was the same way. I should have stopped with TOMATS. What you can't put your finger on is probably the feeling that his writing is dull and although terse, it's redundant in places.  Hemingway's supposed to be awesome, sublime even with his skeletal prose. He was supposedly among the first to not write so flowery and that's what makes him cool. Turns out he was copying Stephen Crane's style a bit.

I'll take Sir Walter Scott's tedious floral prose to Hemingway's clunky dialog and redundancies (Darling this and Darling that Darling, Darling).  Sorry, I was thinking of A Farewell to Arms.

 

But all this is just my opinion. There are Hem fans amongst us. They are barely my friends. devil  (I kid, I kid).

 

 

 

 

 



Last Edited on: 2/27/11 8:47 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 3/3/2011 3:30 PM ET
Member Since: 9/25/2006
Posts: 314
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Good Sea Stories

Seaspray and Whiskey  - Norman Freeman: Teetotal radio guy trapped on tramp with drunken sailors. A hoot.
Delilah - Marcus Goodrich: Henry Jamesian in difficulty, but great literary power
Treasure Island    Robert Louis Stevenson
HMS Surprise - Patrick O'Brian: perhaps the best Aubrey-Maturin novel
The Sea and The Jungle - H.M. Tomlinson: travel narrative, up the Amazon in the 1920s
Typhoon and Other Stories - Joseph Conrad: short stoires
 



Last Edited on: 3/3/11 3:31 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 3/3/2011 9:33 PM ET
Member Since: 4/4/2009
Posts: 9,492
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I have read all Hemingway at least twice. I regard The Old Man and The Sea as very weak. Apparently what he once had was almost all gone, and when he figured this out, he decided it was time to go face The Dealer and took out his 12 guage...       My favorite Hemingway is a book of his short stories usually called The First 49 Stories.

I think the Conrad cited above is the first Conrad I ever read, packaged under another title and in a book club edition. For sea stories or novels, it gets no better than Conrad.

I am struggling manfully through James Fenimore Cooper's The Pilot. I will now share with you what I am enduring. In this passage, our hero is in prison and visited clandestinely by his former lover, and they are disagreeing. This is a love scene.

     "Certainly none have met me with the reproaches that I have this night received from Alice Dunscombe, after a separation of six long years,"  returned the pilot. "If I have spoken to you the words of holy truth, John, let them not be the less welcome, because they are strangers to your ears.Oh! think that she who has thus dared to use the language of reproach to one whose name is terrible to all who live on the border of this island, is led to the rash act by no other motive than interest in your eternal welfare." Alice! Alice! you madden me with these foolish speeches! Am I a monster to frighten unprotected women and helpless children? What mean these epithets , as coupled with my name? ....Alice Dunscombe cast a furtive and timid glance at the pilot, which spoke even stronger than her words, as she replied:

Date Posted: 3/15/2011 2:29 PM ET
Member Since: 12/7/2009
Posts: 193
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"TOMATS is the first Hemingway book I ever read and my reaction was the same way. I should have stopped with TOMATS. What you can't put your finger on is probably the feeling that his writing is dull and although terse, it's redundant in places.  Hemingway's supposed to be awesome, sublime even with his skeletal prose. He was supposedly among the first to not write so flowery and that's what makes him cool. Turns out he was copying Stephen Crane's style a bit."

Boy, am I glad I happened on this thread and that statement, TomeTrader.  TOMATS was also the first Hemingway book I ever read and my reaction was th same as yours and Shanan B.'s.  I thought I must be missing something so I tried to read  For Whom the Bells Toll and gave up on it and Hemingway.  You put into words what it was that I did not like. 

Date Posted: 3/15/2011 2:48 PM ET
Member Since: 10/17/2006
Posts: 1,427
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These posts made me wonder if it makes a significant difference WHICH Hemingway work one reads first?    My own was The Sun Also Rises, in an American Novel class I managed to sneak into my "J-school" days at the University of Missouri.    Additionally, does the reader's age at the time matter?   and does the year in which the reading experience took place matter?  I was right around nineteen years old, and the year was 1947.   I didn't like to think that men and women were like those TSAR characters, members of the "Lost Generation" in post World War I-Europe.  But then, Hemingway ain't the only novelist whose characters were unlikeable, unsavory characters. . . . . (Faulkner, anyone?)

I didn't read The Catcher in the Rye, by J. D. Salinger, until my adulthood, and NOT my early adulthood!   NO surprise the dull thud, there . . . . .



Last Edited on: 12/30/11 2:41 PM ET - Total times edited: 2
Date Posted: 3/15/2011 8:25 PM ET
Member Since: 3/27/2009
Posts: 25,000
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I didn't read The Catcher in the Rye, by J. D. Salinger, until my adulthood, and NOT my early adulthood!

I am too old for Catcher...Rye. I am just not interested in some salty mouthed kid with mental problems. I am just not.

 

I am struggling manfully through James Fenimore Cooper's The Pilot.

I almost lost consciousness reading that Cooper passage.  That's not a manful struggle, that's literary masochism. Free yourself tonight!  devil

 

You put into words what it was that I did not like. 

Good, this means neither you, nor myself , nor Shanan are alone in our opinion which is always nice. We can form a club. 

Date Posted: 3/17/2011 2:34 PM ET
Member Since: 5/31/2009
Posts: 2,955
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I.  Sea Saga - Shackleton's Valiant Voyage by Alfred Lansing:   It seems like a miracle that Shackleton's entire party survived their ordeal against such daunting odds and extreme weather - frigid temperatures, gale force winds, rain, sea water, and ice. The story of their experiences is inspiring from start to finish.

While I remember much about the expedition from history I decided to read this condensed version for a firsthand view of the voyage. Stranded on the ice and watching their ship, Endurance, crushed by the ice pack must have been disheartening. However, Shackleton seems to be a good leader.

The group launches three boats hoping to reach land and safety. The trip is filled with gales, rain, snow and ice that needs to be chipped from the boats time and again. The chances of reaching a small island in the vast ocean is daunting but they have to try. It's the only way to survive.

Imagine living on ice for a third of a year. Somehow when the food becomes short something happens to give them a bit more. In in the boats they are trying to reach land over deadly waters with a cross current. No longer can they camp on ice especially after they almost lose two members of the party when the ice floes split. The boats are in open water using makeshift sails and oars . The groups launches boats hoping to reach land and safety. The trip is filled with gale force winds, rain, snow and ice that needs to be chipped from the boats time and time again. The chances of reaching a small island in the vast ocean is daunting but they have to try. It's the only way to survive. The final trek over St. George's unknown rugged interior to the whaling station by three members of the party is another unbelievable effort. 

The group launches three boats hoping to reach land and safety. The trip is filled with gales, rain, snow and ice that needs to be chipped from the boats time and again. The chances of reaching a small island in the vast ocean is daunting but they have to try. It's the only way to survive.

Imagine living on ice for a third of a year. Somehow when the food becomes short something happens to give them a bit more. In in the boats they are trying to reach land over deadly waters with a cross current. No longer can they camp on ice especially after they almost lose two members of the party when the ice floes split. The boats are in open water using makeshift sails and oars . The groups launches boats hoping to reach land and safety. The trip is filled with gale force winds, rain, snow and ice that needs to be chipped from the boats time and time again. The chances of reaching a small island in the vast ocean is daunting but they have to try. It's the only way to survive. The final trek over St. George's unknown rugged interior to the whaling station by three members of the party is another unbelievable effort. 



Last Edited on: 3/17/11 2:36 PM ET - Total times edited: 3
Date Posted: 4/6/2011 1:36 AM ET
Member Since: 11/18/2009
Posts: 551
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 I've read several works by Hemingway, and have not liked any of them. So he is off my list.

I read Mutiny on the Bounty for my sea saga, and LOVED IT! It's a wonderfully written book, and tells a remarkable story. i most highly recommend this book!

                                                                                                                                   Rose

 

Date Posted: 7/7/2011 7:05 AM ET
Member Since: 4/25/2007
Posts: 54
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I like TOMATS, but don't hold it against me.  It's a bleak, sorrowful book about the inevitability of decay and mortality, the pointlessness and misery of life.  If you feel blah after reading it, that indicates to me that you understood it.

Matt C. (mattc) - ,
Date Posted: 7/9/2011 1:19 PM ET
Member Since: 8/13/2008
Posts: 3,849
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I also liked The Old Man and the Sea.  Hemingway does write on some bleak topics, but in a masterful way.

For the Sea Saga category, however, I chose The Caine Mutiny by Herman Wouk, winner of a 1952 Pulitzer Prize.  I liked Wouk's style, and have read some of his other stuff, including A Hole in Texas, published 53 years later.  I think that might be the longest timespan between novels I have experienced for a single author.  

Date Posted: 7/9/2011 1:30 PM ET
Member Since: 11/18/2009
Posts: 551
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I read Mutiny on the Bounty for the sea saga category, and liked it.

I have never cared for Hemingway; even books of his I've read in the last several years have not impressed me. I'm done with him.

                                                                                    Rose



Last Edited on: 7/9/11 1:31 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 7/9/2011 3:32 PM ET
Member Since: 3/27/2009
Posts: 25,000
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I too read The Caine Mutiny and love it so much ordered more of Wouk's work. Up soon: Winds of War and War and Remembrance.

Date Posted: 7/13/2011 11:03 PM ET
Member Since: 5/29/2011
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Hemingway book I enjoyed the most was For Whom the Bell Tolls. 

 

From Amazon

In 1937 Ernest Hemingway traveled to Spain to cover the civil war there for the North American Newspaper Alliance. Three years later he completed the greatest novel to emerge from "the good fight," For Whom the Bell Tolls. The story of Robert Jordan, a young American in the International Brigades attached to an antifascist guerilla unit in the mountains of Spain, it tells of loyalty and courage, love and defeat, and the tragic death of an ideal. In his portrayal of Jordan's love for the beautiful Maria and his superb account of El Sordo's last stand, in his brilliant travesty of La Pasionaria and his unwillingness to believe in blind faith, Hemingway surpasses his achievement in The Sun Also Rises and A Farewell to Arms to create a work at once rare and beautiful, strong and brutal, compassionate, moving and wise. "If the function of a writer is to reveal reality," Maxwell Perkins wrote to Hemingway after reading the manuscript, "no one ever so completely performed it." Greater in power, broader in scope, and more intensely emotional than any of the author's previous works, it stands as one of the best war novels of all time.