Noget af det bedste Hemingway, jeg har læst. Den her er virkelig god.
Selv om det er en af hansførste bøger, synes jeg, den har alt det, der er godt ved Hemingway. De intense scener, der fortælles med hans skødesløse præcision. Fornemmelsen af at kunne mærke stemninger og nerve ud fra korte beskrivelser. Et simpelt persongalleri, der alligevel pustes et klart liv og nogle stærkt følelsesladede relationer ind i, der resultere i ganske meget stilfærdigt drama. Nogle stærke miljøbeskrivelser og en fornemmelse af den tid og det miljø, der beskrives. Og ikke mindst det sparsomme, koncise sprog, hvor man af og til skal læse flere gange for at være sikker på, at man ikke lige missede det dramatiske vendepunkt i historien eller en vittighed i samtalen.
Historien er enkel. En gruppe mere eller mindre forbundne bekendte expats fra det parisiske bohememiljø tager til Pamplona for at overvære festival og tyrefægtning. Med jalousi, fiskeri, drikkeri og lommefilosofi undervejs. Der er noget melankolsk over historien – ikke mindst fordi fortælleren netop har noget distanceret og småtrist over sig.
I went back upstairs and from the open window watched Brett walking up the street to the big limousine drawn up to the curb under the arc-light. She got in and it started off. I turned around. On the table was an empty glass and a glass half-full of brandy and soda. I took them both out to the kitchen and poured the half-full glass down the sink. I turned off the gas in the dining-room, kicked off my slippers sitting on the bed, and got into bed. This was Brett, that I had felt like crying about. Then I thought of her walking up the street and stepping into the car,
as I had last seen her, and of course in a little while I felt like hell again. It is awfully easy to be hard-boiled about everything in the daytime, but at night it is another thing.
Samtidig er der den der særlige, underspillede men præcise beskrivelse af mennesker og situationer. Ikke så man synes, man får det fulde billede, men man får en klar fornemmelse af lige præcis det beskrevne.
Men would come in from distant towns and before they left Pamplona stop and talk for a few minutes with Montoya about bulls. These men were aficionados. Those who were aficionados could always get rooms even when the hotel was full. Montoya introduced me to some of them. They were always very polite at first, and it amused them very much that I should be an American. Somehow it was taken for granted that an American could not have afición. He might simulate it or confuse it with excitement, but he could not really have it. When they saw that I had afición, and there was no password, no set questions that could bring it out, rather it was a sort of oral spiritual examination with the questions always a little on the defensive and never apparent, there was this same embarrassed putting the hand on the shoulder, or a “Buen hombre.” But nearly always there was the actual touching. It seemed as though they wanted to touch you to make it