Hemingway continues to be both an iconic and a problematic author. Anyone who cares about American fiction needs to read him and his influence is inescapable, as is his larger than life persona. But is he as great as his reputation? No, but, then again, nobody really could be. The knee-jerk complaint against him is that he's sexist, but, to be fair, none of his characters are really three dimensional. And for all his vaunted realism, there's a sentimental, slightly phony streak that runs through his work and is especially evident in his penultimate and worst reviewed novel. Set in Venice it's an elegiac love story between an aging American Colonel and a teenaged Italian countessa. Little about the relationship is convincing or interesting and his overuse of "true" to describe various things (breasts, martinis, American) is a little comic. The title comes from the last words of Stonewall Jackson.
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