No, I wasn't naïve enough to be fooled into thinking that this exquisite novel from the legendary Hemingway was an in-depth car manual designed to accompany the latest Ford creation.
Far from it, in fact, for this story follows a bunch of friends who travel from Paris to Spain, and to the town of Pamplona in particular to witness the bull-running and -fighting events of the infamous San Fermin festival, that is held annually there.
Unfortunately, I never studied anything by Hemingway in school (which, I think,
is something of a scandal), and only really became interested in the writer courtesy of
the travel show that Michael Palin produced called Hemingway Adventure, in which Palin travelled to a large number of places around the world where the larger-than-life man lived and worked through his life.
Palin did this partly to aid research for a novel that he subsequently penned,
a damn fine read entitled Hemingway's Chair, just in case anybody cares to seek such a novel out.
Returning to Ernest, Hemingway was born in 1899, in the Oak Park suburb of Chicago. He came to be a huge fan of game hunting, bull-fighting and sea-fishing over time, and proceeded to settle in Africa and Europe for prolonged periods. He was very fond of Paris, and this is where his Fiesta story sets out from, as the friends in the story get all fired up about driving down to Pamplona to witness the festivities.
Luckily for him, the Phantom manages to persuade Christine to come to New York to star in an opera.
En-route from Paris to Pamplona, the scenery is vividly described, yet Fiesta
is at its most exciting when they actually arrive in Pamplona and the
manic week-long festival of sense-attacking events get under way.
Hemingway was always renowned for his highly individual writing style.
He undeniably had a keen ear and eye for describing situations with such finesse that the reader of his work really does feel as though they are directly seeing, hearing and experiencing everything that he is.
Although many people find the violent act of bull-fighting utterly repulsive, Ernest didn't seem to be fazed by the blood and the guts. He was simply exhilarated, and witnessing the bulls' deaths so close at hand only made him strive to live his life to the full to even more of an intense extent.
Sights and sounds fill his Fiesta, mirroring the real event meticulously. In truth, this book helped to promote the festival in Pamplona to a magnificent degree, and I look forward to the day I can attend.
As for other work by Hemingway that should be read at all costs, try his masterpieces
A Farewell To Arms and For Whom The Bell Tolls. He wasn't a Nobel Prize-winner for nothing you know.
Reviews, Books - The Dharma Bums by Jack Kerouac Reviewed by Steve Rudd
He doesn't need any money... all he needs is his rucksack.
There really was no end to Jack's writing talents after all! This is the fifth book of his that I've had the pleasure of reading, and it is by far and away my favourite.
When you get to the top of a mountain, keep climbing.
Packed with all the excitement of his classic masterpiece On The RoadRead more...
Reviews, Books - I'm a Teacher Get Me Out of Here by Francis Gilbert (Short Books) Reviewed By Cathy Walker
As I am about to change career to become a primary school teacher, I picked up
I'm A Teacher Get Me Out Of Here with a little trepidation. I'd heard that it presents the
reality of working in a 'tough school', of what a hard and challenging job being a teacher truly is.
I can't wait to become a teacher and I didn't want
Reviews, Events - Nights Out - Tuesday 24th May 05 - Benny Hill Preservation Society By Adam Atkinson
My utter fascination with all things Benny started as early as the age of three, when I by
chance happened upon some irrelevant sketch involving the Benster dressed as a cardiac
surgeon examining some saucy minx. 12 years later I would see my own Uncle Frank arrested for the very same thing.
Reviews, Books - In The Winter Dark by Tim Winton Reviewed by Steve Rudd
A menacing short story from the ever-interesting Australian writer Tim Winton,
this is a thrilling venture into dark and macabre territory that focuses on a few
people who live in a secluded valley that seems to also be inhabited by a mysterious
creature that preys both on their animals and their worst fears.
Reviews, Books - The Thirty-Nine Steps by John Buchan Reviewed by Steve Rudd
First published way, way back in 1915, this is the story that inspired the infamous movie of
the same name that was directed by the king of noir, old Alfred Hitchcock.
I have it on good authority that the film version does in fact differ to quite a large extent to this novel, but what the hell.
I can't imagine the book being any less suspenseful or tense
Reviews, Books - Junky by William S. Burroughs Reviewed by Steve Rudd
Where to start with a man of William's legendary literary standing?
Born in 1914, in his own time he came to be regarded as one of the most
important American writers of the Sixties Beat generation - during which
time his writing was revered in the same way that the work of
Jack Kerouac and Allen Ginsberg was.
Reviews, Books - The Long Rain by Peter Gadol Reviewed By Steve Rudd
After I had walked around the winery, I climbed back in my truck and continued driving farther up
into the foothills, and some nights I did make it as far as the mountain road.
I wanted to cross the Diablo range.
I wanted to keep driving clear across the state and into the desert, deep into the American
vastness, where I knew no one and no one knew me.
Reviews, Books - Goodbye, Hessle Road by Daphne Glazer Reviewed By Cathy Walker
Goodbye Hessle Road is the new novel by local writer Daphne Glazer, set in and around Hull.
It focuses on the lives of Donna, her mum and grandmother Ruby and features many local landmarks
from the leafy suburbs of the Avenues to the inside of Hull Prison.
Donna is a drugs worker at Hull prison; she is portrayed as a strong woman, with
attitude and hidden vulnerability.
Reviews, Books - Jack Ruby's Kitchen Sink by Tom Miller Reviewed by Steve Rudd
I have long longed to visit the South-Western states of the USA, and the beautifully majestic Arizona in particular.
In this fascinating and factual book, Tom - who himself lives in Tucson, Arizona - recounts
all sorts of weird and wonderful tales from the region, and also presents tall tales from
Reviews, Books - The Time Traveller's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger Reviewed By Cathy Walker
thisisUll.com readers may have seen The Time Traveller's Wife featured
as part of Richard and Judy's Bookclub.
If you're not a fan of the teatime TV couple do not be deterred; this is likely to
be one of the most unusual and original pieces of fiction
Reviews, Books -One For New York by John A Williams Reviewed By Steve Rudd
A remarkable novel in every respect, this is a classic piece of literature from an
incredibly gifted writer who expressed exactly how it felt to be a black man
growing up in the United States early on in the last Century.
This book focuses on his
Reviews, Books - Dr. Sax by Jack Kerouac Reviewed by Steve Rudd
Even hardcore fans of this legendary author might be in two minds about how much they
like this novel of his.
Jack is best-known for his travel-trained adventures back and forth across the
USA (in On The Road, Big Sur and The Dharma Bums for example), and further
Reviews, Books - Maisie Dobbs by Jacqueline Winspear Reviewed By Cathy Walker
Can you name a female private detective? Your answer might be Miss Marple or
Mma Ramotswe of the No.1 Ladies Detective Agency, but thanks to
Jacqueline Winspear, Maisie Dobbs is another name to add to that list.
Initially it seems that