The quintessential novel of the Lost Generation, The Sun Also Rises is one of Ernest Hemingway's masterpieces and a classic example of his spare but powerful writing style. A poignant look at the disillusionment and angst of the post-World War I generation, the novel introduces two of Hemingway's most unforgettable characters: Jake Barnes and Lady Brett Ashley. The story follows the flamboyant Brett and the hapless Jake as they journey from the wild nightlife of 1920s Paris to the brutal bullfighting rings of Spain with a motley group of expatriates. It is an age of moral bankruptcy, spiritual dissolution, unrealized love, and vanishing illusions. First published in 1926, The Sun Also Rises helped to establish Hemingway as one of the greatest writers of the twentieth century.
THE SUN ALSO RISES was Ernest Hemingway’s first novel, published in 1926. A roman à clef, the story is based on actual people and on Hemingway’s own experience of the café life in Paris, as well as on a fishing expedition to the Pyrenees and attendance of the bullfights in Pamploma with a group of fellow ex-pats.
Following the iceberg principle of style, Hemingway’s prose is understated and pared down to only those elements essential to the story, and his dialogue set the bar for other authors. There are some weaknesses in the story, such as the repetition of scenes in which the characters become inebriated, argue, and then discuss their prior arguments while hung over. But these scenes also serve as a glimpse into the futility and disillusionment pervasive in a society shell-shocked by the first World War.
This Lost Generation had witnessed a departure from the honor of a gentlemanly war, and Hemingway excels at subtly and metaphorically exploring the conscious and cultural wound left by the widespread brutality, harrowing technological forms of warfare, and mass casualties of WWI.
Hemingway’s THE SUN ALSO RISES is well worth the read.