Thursday, November 04, 2010

Short Story Thursday: "A Very Short Story" by Ernest Hemingway

"A Very Short Story" by Ernest Hemingway

I know, I know. Hemingway has many detractors given his style of writing and his personal history. I happen to love his work. I adore the expansive and detailed prose of Charles Dickens and Wilkie Collins, but sometimes I need something more terse and straight to the point. I find that with Ernest Hemingway's writing. I have always been the kind of reader who likes to mix things up, whether it be book type, genre or writing style.

I came across this brief story online while searching for a short short story to read. I am currently reading two novels about heavy topics and needed a little break. Something quick and simple. I suppose I should have looked for something short and funny rather than something that was on the somber side, but I wasn't seeking something that different from what I was already reading. And so, it was with eagerness that I picked up Ernest Hemingway's "A Very Short Story" yesterday to read.

At the start of the story, the reader finds herself in Padua. It opens with the unnamed main character being carried up to the roof where he can look out over the town. With him is Luz, who stands guard. She'd taken care of him after his operation. It is a love story of sorts. The two want to marry but are unable to do so. The war keeps them a part for much of the time, but they long to settle down together afterward. It isn't so simple, however. After a brief unsatisfying meeting, they again must separate. Will they finally end up together in the end or will fate have something else in store for them?

There is only so much that can be said in seven paragraphs and while one could certainly argue for the need to fill out this particular story, it really isn't necessary as it stands well on its own. That said, I am one who wouldn't have minded a little more detail here and there. I felt I only got to know Luz and her love superficially.

You can find the story, "A Very Short Story", and read it here.

© 2010, Wendy Runyon of Musings of a Bookish Kitty. All Rights Reserved.If you're reading this on a site other than Musings of a Bookish Kitty or Wendy's feed, be aware that this post has been stolen and is used without permission.


  1. You know, I have never read anything by Hemingway. My son recently read The Old Man and the Sea for English class, but I have not yet picked anything up. Maybe I will have to try this short story. Thanks!

  2. I absolutely love Hemingway. I read quite a bunch of his work over the summer in preparation for heading to Key West in July -- every year they have the world famous Hemingway Look Alike contest which my father has been in the finals three years in a row. It's one of the must fun events to attend, and especially in Key West since Hemingway lived there for a little while. His home there is fun to visit with all the stuff in it. I took a few pictures and reviewed a few of his books over on my blog -- my favorite was The Old Man and the Sea. Without question. I cried. I admit it.

  3. I go back and forth on Hemingway. I use him when I teach writing, though. He is a useful stylist (though his homophobic and anti-Semitic tendencies come out if you read enough of him! GRR!). But a short story is always good. Actually, post-Halloween, I think of short stories as "fun size."

    Thanks for posting the link!

  4. Like Heather I've yet to read any Hemingway, and somehow it hadn't occurred to me that his short stories might be a good way to find out if I'd like him. So thank you for the reminder!

  5. I haven't read this one but I have read a handful of Hemingway's other stories. I prefer them to his longer fiction. His Two-Hearted River stories are really good.

  6. This isn't the best story to start with if you are new to Hemingway--I don't think anyway.

    I haven't read too much of his short fiction, but it's something I want to explore more.

    Thank you everyone for your comments!


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