I just started reading Hemingway stories today. I've got the Finica Vigia Edition, which claims to be the "complete short stories" of Hemingway. My professor has us working on the "In Our Time" series of stories, which as far as I can tell is centered around this guy Nick.
I really like reading Hemingway stories, but I'm often left with this blank feeling after them. I always feel like I just missed some really important meaning. In my head, I'm thinking "Wait...what?" Does anyone else have this feeling? And is this a good thing? Should I immediately "get" the story, or should I have to go back and reread and reconsider? Am I just slow? Hemingway makes me doubt myself as a reader.
I'm also starting on Chekhov's stories (and whenever I say or think "Chekhov" I think of the guy from Star Trek). I had an email conversation with my friend Katie, from The Bitterness Blog, and I liked her take on it:
It just doesn't feel like there's a point. But maybe therein lies the genius, because life is futile and pointless as well...Some days life is lovable but it's still ultimately pointless and futile. And the lives that Chekhov writes about are usually not lovable. There's a lot of poverty and peasantry in there. That's not lovable.Well said. But of course, she writes a blog about being bitter, sooooo...there's that.
Do short stories always have to be so sad? Hemingway's story "The End of Something" (a relationship) is just devastating. The lack of expressed emotion during such an emotional event simply escalates the depressing moment. But I suppose if writers wrote about rainbow and butterflies, it wouldn't be nearly as interesting.