Death in the Afternoon by Ernest Hemingway

Posted August 30, 2013 by Michael @ Knowledge Lost in Non-Fiction / 0 Comments

Death in the Afternoon by Ernest HemingwayTitle: Death in the Afternoon (Goodreads)
Author: Ernest Hemingway
Published: Scribner, 1932
Pages: 416
Genres: Non-Fiction
My Copy: eBook

Buy: AmazonBook Depository (or visit your local Indie bookstore)

Death in the Afternoon is a non-fiction book by Ernest Hemingway that explores the ceremony and traditions of Spanish bullfighting. Looking at the history and the culture behind bullfighting, the book also explores the dangers and fears being faced. Still considered one of the best books ever written about bullfighting, Death in the Afternoon explores the sport by one of its aficionados.

This is an interesting book, not something I would read normally but I did enjoy it. While I am morally opposed to bullfighting I didn’t have any really knowledge of the sport and culture behind it. So I went into this book with an open mind and a little hesitant. I had never had a good experience with Hemingway in the past; granted I’ve only read one of his novels (The Old Man and the Sea) but it was enough to never go back. I know this is not a good reason not to return but I have to admit I did enjoy the writing styles.

Ernest Hemingway has a very descriptive writing style which makes for some interesting insights; but sometimes too much. I get the impression that he is using humour in some of his writing but it’s so obscure that it either goes over my head or is just downright weird. I know Hemingway was a rather unusual man and had an interesting life but he isn’t someone that I think I will ever understand or connect with in any way. While I’m against bullfighting, Hemingway seems to be an advocate towards it and often wants it to be more violent and deadly.

You have to understand that Ernest Hemingway is an arrogant, sexist, pompous ass and it often comes through in his writing, so you have to take everything he says with a huge grain of salt. I found myself disagreeing with him all too often but still interested in what he was saying. I went into this book knowing that Hemingway and I weren’t going to get along at times, which was lucky because I was ready to throw out any of his opinions that didn’t align with mine. I did find it interesting how he kept using bullfighting as a metaphor for art and Spain; I don’t know if I agree with this but he seemed was be determined to make this point.

While I’m still opposed to bullfighting, I now have a whole lot more information about the topic; possibly too much. Hemingway’s writing style was enough to make me willing to try something else of his (if I find something good) and this was an interesting and different reading experience. I don’t read enough non-fiction, let alone travel or sports writing so this was a book way out of left field. I’m determined to read more non-fiction now and I hope that I manage to get through at least one a month. Also interesting to see how this review turned out; I’m never know how to approach a non-fiction review and I think I did alright here.

0 responses to “Death in the Afternoon by Ernest Hemingway

  1. Sam_TinyLibrary

    Hemingway certainly is an arrogant, pompous, sexist ass! I never can get along with his books, which is why I wouldn’t pick this one up, although the history of bullfighting does sound interesting.

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