The way I listened to the audiobook version of this novel narrated by John Slattery didn’t do it justice. Being on holidays, away from home and my usual commuting and exercising habits, I listened in short grabs, either just before going to sleep or when I woke up in the early hours of the morning and wanted to get back to sleep again. I had to re-listen to bits I'd missed by dozing off, which does not make for a smooth and cohesive literary experience. In addition, it’s a reasonably short book, but it’s taken me a month or so to finish, which is not good when I have such a poor memory for plot details.
That said, I enjoyed the book much more than I thought I would. I've not read a huge amount of Hemingway, although I've read enough to know that he's not my favourite writer. However, I like the deceptive simplicity of Hemingway's prose - a simplicity extraordinarily difficult to achieve. I also like the way in which Hemingway used his personal experience of being a volunteer ambulance driver at the Italian front during World War I to ground the plot. And I appreciate the complete absence bull fighting in this novel, a passion of Hemingway's to which I cannot relate.
Slattery’s narration is excellent. Thankfully, he’s not one of those male narrators who heads into the falsetto range when voicing a female character. Overall, this has been an unusual audiobook experience for me, but a worthwhile one nevertheless.