I tried again last night to read The Sun Also Rises. No particular reason: I was in between books, felt like I wanted some fiction, flipped through a few, reading the first page or so of this, the first paragraph of that, before arbitrarily deciding to give the Hemingway another go. It's not going to happen. I get no pleasure from the prose. I find young Mr. Jacob Barnes, the narrator, exceedingly annoying, and the no-pleasure-in-the-prose factor makes that a major problem. I don't care about Robert Cohn or the rest. I'm not interested in characters who are supposed to be metaphors for the Lost Generation. I don't care about any of it. I made it through the first three chapters, approximately 25 pages, about a tenth of the thing, irritated the whole way, telling myself the while that it'd come into focus, I'll get into it. But, no.
I went through an earlier period scorning Hemingway, without really knowing what I was talking about, outside of hated forced readings of short stories (about fishing, I'm almost certain) in high school. Then I took a stab at this same novel, made it 80 pages in, decided it wasn't for me, but without the scorn. I was younger, read too quickly, and his writing didn't fit in with the more expansive, language-drunk novels I was reading at the time. Since then, I always told myself I'd read it; it would be the Hemingway I'd read, since I really don't want to read his war novels. But, again, no, finally, I'm not going to. I'm not going to read any further. I'm giving up on Hemingway.