The beauty and romance of Venice in ‘Across the River and Into the Trees’

The 1964 print of Ernest Hemingway’s ‘Across the River and Into the Trees’. Some say it was only published after his death, but it is my understanding that it was first published in 1950, a decade before his death.

I find myself writing better when I am reviewing a book. Since these are my own original thoughts I am posting them here. Take from it what you will. I’ve heard this is not Hemingway’s best work but it is the only of his I have ever read.

I admit that this book took me a long time to read. But I was determined. My father, whom I have only recently had a good relationship with, gave me this book to read after I came back from a trip to Venice. He loved this book and so I was determined to love it too. I didn’t love it, but I did like it.

This is a romantic book set in a romantic city. It is not romance like you would find in an Eloisa James novel. It is the romance of life and having someone you cherish love you back. It is romance in its most vintage form. It was quite frankly beautiful. This was romance from the point of view of a very jaded old man that has seen all together too much war. But he finds peace and love in the form of the beautiful and young Renata.

He is dying and has made peace with it. Now he just wants to enjoy what he has left of his life. I found this to be very, well, beautiful. And all of this reminiscences of the war was pretty instructional since I only have a 9th grade overview of what happened. But towards the end this book moved me, and it wasn’t my animal loving outcry at all the poor ducks being shot. I suddenly started empathizing with the good Colonel. I wanted him to go on with his life and go back to Renata and love her forever. I wanted all the bad that affected him to disappear.

I don’t know if it was the beautiful writing (which I confess I struggled to follow most of the time) or just knowing what the inevitability of this this book would be. But, though I like the whole book, the last ten pages suddenly grabbed a hold of me.

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