A farewell to arms by Ernest Hemingway is perhaps one of the most unromantic, unsentimental novel I have ever read. This does not make it dull or boring. On the contrary, this semi autobiographical work is a gritty, realistic portrayal of men and ladies serving in war, their struggles and cynicism.
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Basically a tragic love story, set during world war 1, this is a first person account of Frederic Henry, an American, working for the ambulance unit of Italian army. He falls in love with an English nurse, Catherine Berkley. He gets wounded and is moved to the same hospital where she works. By the time he is healed, she get pregnant. Henry is termed a deserter during one retreat and gets interrogated by battle police who wants to execute them. He escapes and gets to Catherine. Both of them escapes to Switzerland and spend some good time there. But during child birth, Catherine and newborn baby dies. Henry walks back to his hospital in rain.
The novel does not preach the devastations of war, nor does it portrays exaggerated sufferings of soldiers and civilians involved in it and is in no way a political statement. Even the major tragedy in the climax cannot be directly traced to the effect of war. Still this novel very subtly shows the anguish created by war, in the minds of those affected. The casual banter among soldiers, Henry's duologue with the priest, all are efforts to forget the dooming end the war can have on them. Even the love affair sometimes feels as a cover to remove the reality for some time from the minds of lovers.
On other news, I watched these two delightful movies: Malayalam movie Pranchiyettan and the Saint and Tamil movie Adukalam.
The first one is a satire, about the idiocies men will do to attain some fame and recognition. Mammotty stars as Francis, who is a wealthy business man, with only one sorrow. He don't get the recognition that other well educated members of his society enjoys. He tries to get it through many ways and all backfires. The format of the movie is very interesting. He meets St Francis in a church and he describes his story to him. Finally he realizes the fallacy of his attempts. Mammotty steals the show with his antics as Aripranchi (as Francis is called in his community).
The second one belongs to that numerous Madurai movies hitting movie screen after the success of Paruthiveeran. Adukalam tells the story of cock fighting in interiors of Madurai. The main achievement of this movie is the blending of artistic and commercial elements so beautifully. Dhanush and all the supporting cast does a good job.