For my independent study novel I read The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway. Before actually reading it, I was a bit intimated- mostly because it's Hemingway. I mean you think Hemingway and then you think genius and then you're like wait I'm not a genius how does this work (that was pretty much my thought process in a nutshell). However, I was pleasantly surprised to find out that my fears prior to actually reading the novel were completely wrong.
I was extremely excited when I first started reading to find out that it was actually a story. Like a story with a beginning, middle, and end and everything. Has anyone else seriously been missing a traditionally set-up plot after reading Metamorphosis, Notes from the Underground, and even Beloved? I certainly have been. Essentially, The Sun Also Rises got bonus points for being somewhat straight-forward.
Despite being mostly straight-forward in the narration itself, I will admit that it took me awhile to actually figure out what the point, or even the theme(s), was. Looking back after having finished it, it's a bit embarrassing that I didn't know from the get-go. I mean, I really should have gotten the gist of it just from the summary on the back. Though, I can't actually remember if I read the summary. Essentially, the novel focuses on the Lost Generation and the disillusionment of society following World War I. And I know that you're probably thinking how that is so overdone, and it may be. But I promise, there is a reason The Sun Also Rises has been deemed the "quintessential novel of the Lost Generation." And I also promise that Hemingway is not overrated.
I think what struck me most about the novel is how different the lives of the main characters are compared to ours, or at least to mine. I mean for the most part it all felt so frivolous. At lot of times it seemed like they were just bouncing around from cafe to cafe, getting wasted, and talking but not actually saying anything. I guess that's why it took me almost the whole novel to really understand what was happening or what Hemingway was trying to say. They really were a Lost Generation.
In short, I highly recommend giving this novel a go (it's actually pretty short).