5 of Ernest Hemingway’s Best Novels

One of the most well-known American writers of all time, Ernest Hemingway was a World War I veteran, newspaper reporter, and fiction author who wrote more than 20 published novels and short story collections. His widow, Mary Hemingway, has also stated that he had more than 330 unpublished stories at the time of his death.

Known for his straightforward prose and ability to craft compelling dialogue — the Nobel Prize for literature committee in 1954 highlighted his “forceful and style-making mastery of the art of modern narration” — Hemingway often drew upon his own experiences in his writing. Also a skilled sportsman, he regularly wrote about soldiers, hunters, and other courageous characters. The following are five of Hemingway’s most notable novels.

Ernest Hemmingway
Image courtesy Thomas Hawk | Flickr

The Torrents of Spring

Written in the span of only 10 days, The Torrents of Spring is essentially a work of parody that satirizes the Chicago school of literature. More specifically, Hemingway takes aim at literary tendencies employed by contemporaries such as Sherwood Anderson, James Joyce, D.H. Lawrence, and John Dos Passos.

A Farewell to Arms

The novel’s title was borrowed from a poem written by the 16th century poet George Peele. The content in the story, while fictional, is largely based on Hemingway’s own experiences in World War I. Like Henry, he was born in the US but was a paramedic with the Italian Army in World War I. He also fell in love and was wounded as the result of a mortar shell.

For Whom the Bell Tolls

Covering themes such as death, bigotry, camaraderie, and political ideology, For Whom the Bell Tolls focuses on American Robert Jordan and his role as part of guerrilla forces tasked with blowing up a major bridge as part of an attack on Segovia. Again, similar to A Farewell to Arms, there is a love interest at the center of the story who is a source of conflict for the protagonist. More than anything, the book stands out for Hemingway’s brutally vivid and accurate descriptions of combat during the Spanish Civil War. Editor Maxwell Perkins later commented on Hemingway: “If the function of a writer is to reveal reality, no one ever so completely performed it.”

The Old Man and the Sea

The Sun Also Rises

Jeff Sica is a regular guest on Fox Business and has also provided commentary for CNBC and Bloomberg.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store