A Farewell to Arms…

…reading A Farewell to Arms, and I am struck by Hemingway’s use of repetition with imagery (dust, dusty, leaves) “green branches and green leafy branches and vines laid over the tractors.” When I was a young writer I felt a good writer must not repeat the same words. This is true to some degree. Hemingway uses poetic repetition of leaves falling early in the autumn and repetition of words almost as poems in his work to provide emphasis; “sure this was all and all and all and not caring” (p.13). I love it.

I am struck by the brevity of his chapters only five or less pages a chapter. This to me seems very relevant today, with our short attention spans, and I must say I like short chapters. I always have and I told Peter Carey that when I was a young Uni student interviewing him for the newspaper. Carey likened his chapters to being mosaic tiles, this has always stayed with me, the tile is beautiful on its own but perceived together with all the others becomes a masterpiece taken in as a whole.
Brevity and beauty. These observations I take with me as I am writing my novel. Short chapters as long as they are rich, pertinent and as with Hemingway, economically, minimalist are beautiful, like a rich French tart. One doesn’t have to have a whole mud cake only a tiny piece of it to be satisfied as it is rich in its own right.

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