“We all ought to make sacrifices for literature. Look at me. I’m going to England without a protest. All for literature.”
Every once in a while, I get the urge to drop everything and go to Europe. There is always an inspiration behind my sudden motivation, whether it’s seeing a film such as Midnight in Paris or watching a Ricky Gervais stand-up special (or realizing how mind-bogglingly idiotic so many people in this country can be at times [i.e. Fox News, Glenn Beck, cheeseburgers with doughnuts for buns]). However, as cliché as it must sound, nothing has made me want to become an expatriate more than reading The Sun Also Rises.
Let’s face it; the Lost Generation acted like a bunch of children. They were always drunk, blowing money on fun things like train tickets and bullfights, leisurely reading books and hanging out in cafes by day, partying all night… they were practically a more sophisticated version of the brats from Less Than Zero. The difference, of course, is that after fighting in a long, bloody war, they actually deserved a permanent vacation.
Told in austere prose, this is the story of one of those guys. His name is Jake and he really likes to drink; I can’t imagine it was too difficult for Ernest Hemingway to create this character. Without getting into too much detail, Jake certainly drinks for good reason (read the book to find out why, duh!). I’ll leave it at this: it involves the war and a girl named Brett.
This book is a classic, arguably Hemingway’s best novel, and it’s one of my personal favorites. Just writing about this book is making me anxious to leave America. Seriously, who wants to go? Let’s get out of here!
*Side note: If you live in the Chicago area, I recommend hopping on the Green Line to Oak Park and checking out the Ernest Hemingway birth house and museum. You can snag a used copy of this book for around four bucks at the gift shop.