Still Classic American Stories

| April 07, 2005

The Short Stories -
Ernest Hemingway

Listening Time: 5 hours
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Retail: $28 each (two volumes)
Genre: Fiction

Some of Hemingway’s finest early work is captured here in two volumes of stories set in the first half of last century in places as far flung as Africa, Spain, Italy and Michigan. Some of his best-known heroes, such as Nick Adams, make appearances in some of his most powerful fiction. While the author’s lasting fame would come from his later work, in novels such as The Sun Also Rises, For Whom the Bell Tolls and The Old Man and the Sea, Hemingway’s famously clean, almost abrupt style is on display on these tapes.

While his prose is stripped to basics, he is able to load stories not only with drama and tension, but also with exceptionally moving portrayals of people held in the grip of overpowering emotions. In the story “Indian Camp,” a boy accompanies his doctor father to a remote camp and witnesses a staggeringly brutal scene of childbirth and suicide. In “The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber,” Hemingway takes readers into the African bush and inside the lives of a couple whose tawdry marriage is electrified when the husband runs in the face of danger. In the famous “Snows of Kilimanjaro,” a hunter whose leg wound is turning gangrenous faces his life and inevitable death in a Kenyan safari camp. But there is also Hemingway as subject, and he writes about himself in a Milan hospital where he recovered from shell wounds during World War I. In other stories, such as “Cat in the Rain,” the author experiments, painting scenes as he tries to get just the right mix of words much as painters might try and retry to use just the right colors and brush strokes. Listening to the stories unfold, it is easy to see Hemingway struggling with his old upright manual typewriter, searching for the exact word.

Much of the power in these stories comes from their reader, Stacy Keach. This is the actor who won a Golden Globe for his acclaimed portrayal of Hemingway in the television epic of his life. Keach has captured Hemingway’s no-nonsense style, rough, tough and easily capable of being hard and cruel. But he also revels in finding the occasional phrase or word hidden deep in this sparse prose that reveals the soft, vulnerable sides of Hemingway’s subjects. But he is just as often called upon by the author to seize on those vulnerabilities as human weakness and liabilities. Happy endings are not a signature of these stories.

These are stories that can be listened to several times without losing their power. Hear them, put them a way and bring them out again a few cross-country trips later. You’ll know the plot, but Hemingway has the power to change you from a driver listening to a story to a driver listening to words and phrases, like listening to a favorite song over again and hearing new subtleties and sounds in it.


Notables

Drivers, here is your chance to review the latest audiobooks. Tell our readers what you like or dislike about the plot and characters, and why you would recommend it to other drivers. Below are some of the audiobooks available in the Truckers News audiobook library. Contact Kristin Walters at (800) 633-5953, ext. 1204, or via e-mail at kwalters@eTrucker.com to reserve an audiobook. It will be sent to you free of charge for your review. Audiobooks are available on a first-call, first-served basis.

Forever -
Pete Hamill

From the shores of Ireland, Cormac O’Connor sets out in 1740 on a fateful journey to avenge the deaths of his parents and honor the code of his ancestors. His quest brings him to the settlement of New York, seething with tensions between English and Irish, whites and blacks, British and “Americans,” where he is swept up in a tide of conspiracy and violence. In return for aiding an African shaman who was brought to America in chains, Cormac is given an otherworldly gift: He will live forever – as long as he never leaves the island of Manhattan. Cormac comes to know all the buried secrets of Manhattan and must fight a force of evil that returns relentlessly in the descendants of a single family whose path first crossed his in Ireland.

6 hours
Retail: $30
Simon & Schuster Audio

Bush at War -
Bob Woodward

Woodward tells the behind-the-scenes story of how President George W. Bush and his top national security advisers, after the initial shock of the September 11 attacks, led the nation to war. Based on interviews with more than a hundred sources and four hours of exclusive interviews with the president, Bush at War reveals Bush’s sweeping, almost grandiose, vision for remaking the world. “I’m not a textbook player, I’m a gut player,” the president said.

Woodward’s virtual wiretap into the White House’s Situation Room reveals a group portrait of an untested president and his advisers, three of whom might themselves have made it to the presidency. Bush at War includes extensive quotations from the secret deliberations of the National Security Council and firsthand revelations of the private thoughts, concerns and fears of the president and his war cabinet.

6.5 hours
Retail: $26
Simon & Schuster Audio


Audiobook Sources

Audio books may be purchased or rented from the following sources:
AUDIO ADVENTURES,
(800) 551-6692, for 14-day rental of most major titles.
BOOKS NOW,
(800) 266-5766, for purchase.
Simon & Schuster Audio,
(800) 323-7445, for purchase.

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