I enjoyed reading Fiesta: The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway the second time around. This is a book that's alive with the atmosphere of Paris in the 1920s and the San Fermin festival in Spain. Hemingway drew on so much of his own experiences of living in Paris and his love for bullfighting and it definitely shows in his concise, masculine prose and realistic dialogue.
The story follows a group of expatriates in Europe and their trip to the San Fermin festival in Pamplona, Spain. I think this book is extraordinary not just for its adjective-free writing style, vivid descriptions and its depiction of the lost generation but for all the undercurrents and nuances of unrequited love. It's in essence a love story written by a man and told from a man's point of view and it involves a promiscuous and beautiful woman, Brett Ashley, who falls in love with just about every man she meets. Brett wreaks emotional havoc on the principal characters and most especially on Jake, our storyteller, who loves her with a passion but is ultimately unable to give her what she needs.
Hemingway with a bullfighter in Spain
Here are some quotes from the book:
"The things that happened could only have happened during a fiesta. Everything became quite unreal finally and it seemed as though nothing could have any consequences. It seemed out of place to think of consequences during the fiesta."
"That was morality; things that made you disgusted afterward. No, that must be immorality."
"Oh, Jake," Brett said, "we could have had such a damned good time together." Ahead was a mounted policeman in khaki directing traffic. He raised his baton. The car slowed suddenly pressing Brett against me.