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Winner Take Nothing (1933): Some Clean, Well-Lighted Stories

Ernest Hemingway, Winner Take Nothing (Scribner’s, 1933)

[originally posted 27Mar2001]

Two people, backs to the camera, carry off an animal they have hunted (I believe it is a deer but can't quite tell) on this book cover.

Certainly a better cover than the boring Modern Library one I have.
photo credit:

Arguably Hemingway’s finest book of short stories, Winner Take Nothing contains fourteen relatively short and always spare looks at various stages of life. What seem, upon first reading, to be nothing more than frameworks or outlines take on more meat upon reflection. Hemingway lets the reader fill in the small details, guiding his imagination rather than manipulating it. This does mean that the onus is on the reader more than usual with this book; Hemingway’s work is meant to be thought-provoking rather than escapist. If you can make it to the end of “A Clean, Well-Lighted Place,” the second story in the book, and reflect on it without feeling anything, then the book’s probably not for you. Those who approach it with the proper mindset, however, will find it to be full of opportunities to plumb one’s own imagination. ****

About Robert "Goat" Beveridge

Media critic (amateur, semi-pro, and for one brief shining moment in 2000 pro) since 1986. Guy behind noise/powerelectronics band XTerminal (after many small stints in jazz, rock, and metal bands). Known for being tactless but honest.

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