Farewell To Arms is the story of an American ambulance driver during the Italian campaign of World War 1.
He meets an English nurse, Catherine Barkley, and they fall in love. That’s pretty much the plot of the story, and it is at time presented as a ‘stream of consciousness’, especially at some points near the end when Frederick is suffering inner turmoil over how events have panned out.
It brings to life the war, with the way it is vividly described. Don’t be put off by the elongated prose. The conversations at first don’t appear to have any relevance. But it really is a beautiful piece of literature. Some of the bits (for example, when they discuss the future) are very tragic, too, because considering how it ends, it makes it sad and makes one realize that you never know what is round the corner and when everything is good it can be snatched away.
Maybe because in an era when good prose is limited to 120 characters, we are often blind to prose which makes us feel, or makes us think. I didn’t know anything about the Italian part in World War I, and this too was an education for me. There was also an almost fanatical description of food and the consumption of said food; whether it be what they ate, how they ate or if they ate.
And this book has also taught me that life sucks.
The main reason why I read this was because it was on a list of the greatest books ever written.
MY RATING: 3 /5.