EMH is known for being a great novelist for such books as The Sun Also Rises and For Whom the Bell Tolls, but my favorite works of his to read are the short stories. These short stories, as well as the novellas The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber and The Snows of Kilimanjaro are quicker to read and contain so much meaning with so few words. In EMH’s short stories, the Iceberg Theory is very evident. EMH even has one story entitled “A Very Short Story” about a soldier who falls in love with a nurse after he is injured in the Great War. They plan to marry, but when the soldier returns home, he receives a letter from the nurse telling him she is in love with an officer. This soldier then catches gonorrhea from a brief sexual encounter. Of course, this story is based on his own war time experience with nurse Agnes von Kurowsky. I am not sure about that ending, however.
One of the short stories I recently revisited was “The Denunciation,” published first in 1938 and then posthumously in 1969, along with a few other Spanish Civil War stories EMH had written but were never included in a previous volume of work. Here is a short re-cap from Bookrags.com:
Edwin Henry, called Enrique in Spanish, goes to his favorite restaurant, Chicote’s. At the restaurant, Edwin meets John, an old friend from Greece who has recently been wounded in an air attack. Also at the restaurant is Luis Delgado. Edwin, who is a loyalist, met Luis many years ago and knows that he is a fascist. Luis is wearing a loyalist uniform, and Edwin believes that he is a fascist spy trying to infiltrate a loyalist stronghold. Edwin tells the waiter that Luis is a fascist. He also gives the waiter the telephone number of the government security office. The waiter calls the number to denounce Luis Delgado. The security forces arrive and arrest Luis. Edwin calls his friend, Pepe, in the government security office, and asks him to tell Luis that he, Edwin, denounced him instead…
You can read “The Denunciation” by clicking HERE.
This story shows the complexity of the Spanish Civil War, what life was like in Madrid during that terrible time, and how friendships were compromised or broken due to the side taken. John Dos Passos and EMH, who were very good friends, were never the same after the Spanish Civil War and the loss of one of Dos Passos’ friends that disappeared; a complex event in a complex time in a complex war. Before I read much about EMH and his life, I knew little about the Spanish Civil War and Franco. Now, I have to say I know quite a bit more than just the Saturday Night Live parody of Franco’s death.
For a most complete volume of works of EMH’s, I recommend The Complete Short Stories of Ernest Hemingway: The Finca Vigía Edition.