Briljant författare, både i hans noveller och i hans romaner. De flesta personer kan skriva en bra novell någon gång, men Hemingway producerar på löpande band. African Story är min favorit, The Last Good Country en god tvåa. Med det inte sagt att allt är bra; en del är på franska och spanska och blir obegripliga om man inte pratar de språken, andra blir väl tjatiga om tjurfäktning, och vissa är helt intetsägande. Det är förstås undantagen – allt som oftast är boken en fröjd, och en lektion i novellskrivande.
Odgar was thirty-two and had been twice operated on for varicocele. He was ugly to look at and everybody liked his face. Odgar could never get it and it meant everything in the world to him. Every summer he was worse about it. It was pitiful. Odgar was awfully nice. He had been nicer to Nick than anybody ever had. Now Nick could get it if he wanted it. Odgar would kill himself, Nick thought, if he knew it. I wonder how he’d kill himself. He couldn’t think of Odgar dead. He probably wouldn’t do it. Still people did. It wasn’t just love. Odgar thought just love would do it. Odgar loved her enough, God knows. It was liking, and liking the body, and introducing the body, and persuading, and taking chances, and never frightening, and assuming about the other person, and always taking never asking, and gentleness and liking, and making liking and happiness, and joking and making people not afraid. And making it all right afterwards. It wasn’t loving. Loving was frightening. He, Nicholas Adams, could have what he wanted because of something in him. Maybe it did not last. Maybe he would lose it. He wished he could give it to Odgar, or tell Odgar about it. You couldn’t ever tell anybody about anything. Especially Odgar. No, not especially Odgar. Anybody, anywhere. That had always been his first mistake, talking. He had talked himself out of too many things. There ought to be something you could do for the Princeton, Yale and Harvard virgins, though. Why weren’t there any virgins in state universities? Co-education maybe. They met girls who were out to marry and the girls helped them along and married them. What would become of fellows like Odgar and Harvey and Mike and all the rest? He didn’t know. He hadn’t lived long enough. They were the best people in the world. What became of them? How the hell could he know. How could he write like Hardy and Hamsun when he only knew ten years of life. He couldn’t. Wait till he was fifty.
The last good country:
It was a lovely morning now. The sky was high and clear blue and no clouds had come yet. Nick was happy with his sister and he thought, no matter how this thing comes out we might as well have a good happy time. He had already learned there was only one day at a time and that it was always the day you were in. It would be today until it was tonight and tomorrow would be today again. This was the main thing he had learned so far.
An African story:
You never should have told them. Never, never tell them. Try and remember that. Never tell anyone anything ever. Never tell anyone anything again.