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BOOK REVIEW: The Snows of Kilimanjaro and Other Stories by Ernest Hemingway

The Snows of Kilimanjaro and Other StoriesThe Snows of Kilimanjaro and Other Stories by Ernest Hemingway
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

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This book collects ten pieces of short fiction penned by Hemingway. Each of them is a stand-alone short story; though there’s indication that they all take place in the same universe. Notably, the character Nick Adams recurs in four of the stories (“Fathers and Sons,” “In Another Country,” “The Killers,” and “A Way You’ll Never Be.”)

The first and last stories present intriguing similarities that make them interesting bookends to the collection. The first, and eponymous, story—“The Snows of Kilimanjaro”—follows the last hours of a man who is dying of gangrene from an infected wound he sustained on Mount Kilimanjaro. The dialogue pits a wife in denial against the man who seems resigned to the inevitability of his death. The last story, “The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber” is also set in Africa and features a man and wife whose adventure goes awry. In this case the story begins with the man having been emasculated when he bolted in the face of a charging lion, and all in front of his harpy-esque wife. Francis Macomber manages to redeem himself only in the last seconds of his life.

Besides the aforementioned book-ending stories, among the most substantial and well-developed stories in the book include: “The Gambler, the Nun, and the Radio,” “The Killers,” and “Fifty Grand.” The first of these is about a gambler put in the hospital by a disgruntled competitor and the happenings in the hospital while he is on the ward. “The Killers” is about two hitmen who venture into a small town diner looking for a boxer who apparently owes someone money or decided not to take a dive. “Fifty Grand” is about an aging boxer who bets against himself (and will probably soon be in the same boat as the boxer in “The Killers.”)

There are a couple of stories that feel fragmentary, including: “A Clean, Well-Lighted Place” and “A Day’s Wait.”

This collection features the usual elements of Hemingway fiction, e.g. punchy and spare prose, artfully constructed dialogue, tales of manliness and inadequacy. It’s a short readable book of only about 150 pages.

The stories included are:

1.) The Snows of Kilimanjaro
2.) A Clean, Well-lighted Place
3.) A Day’s Weight
4.) The Gambler, the Nun, and the Radio
5.) Fathers and Sons
6.) In Another Country
7.) The Killers
8.) A Way You’ll Never Be
9.) Fifty Grand
10.) The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber

I’d recommend this for readers of short fiction who haven’t gotten around to it yet.

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