Ernest Hemingway, The Snows of Kilimanjaro (London: Arrow Books, 2004), 137pp
This collection of short stories was a bit hit and miss; some, like 'The Snows of Kilimanjaro', 'Indian Camp' and 'My Old Man' are fantastic, fully-realised little gems that have a strong grasp of thematic storytelling. Others, like 'The End of Something', 'Mr and Mrs Elliot', 'Cross-Country Snow' and 'Big Two-Hearted River' are occasionally dull, whilst there seems no point in investing in the brief 'The Revolutionist' and 'On the Quai at Smyrna'. But when the stories are good, they're really good. 'The Snows of Kilimanjaro' is rightly celebrated as one of Hemingway's better short stories. It has a fine ending, as does 'My Old Man'. In 'Indian Camp', one can identify themes of death and childbirth that Hemingway would later express in A Farewell to Arms, and one can also see in 'A Very Short Story' the germination of that later novel. Also worthy of note is 'Soldier's Home', an interesting and emotional story of a soldier returning to the United States after World War One. Overall, the stories, whilst short and told in Hemingway's trademark spartan prose, are packed with so many ideas and throwaway details that the collection is worth the investment of any Hemingway aficionado.
[Note that there are different published versions of The Snows of Kilimanjaro which have different contents. I read the 2004 Arrow Books edition, which consisted of: 'The Snows of Kilimanjaro', 'Up in Michigan', 'On the Quai at Smyrna', 'Indian Camp', 'The Doctor and the Doctor's Wife', 'The End of Something', 'The Three-Day Blow', 'The Battler', 'A Very Short Story', 'Soldier's Home', 'The Revolutionist', 'Mr and Mrs Elliot', 'Cat in the Rain', 'Out of Season', 'Cross-Country Snow', 'My Old Man' and 'Big Two-Hearted River'.]