July 25, 2007

Certainly like to drink

That's a line that one of the characters, Bill Gorton, utters in Hemingway's The Sun Also Rises, but it might just as well have been said by Jake, Brett, Michael, Robert or just about anyone else in the book. When I read the book in high school (around the time I started drinking, so I must have been 15), I thought the line was sort of ridiculous (though whenever my less intellectually inclined friends gave me a hard time about reading a book I didn't have to read, I'd quote Bill Gorton and everyone would laugh...).

The amount of alcohol Hemingway's characters consume is kind of incredible; at some point I'll try to chart the number of drinks for one character for one day, but I'm pretty sure in advance that regardless of the character, we'll find him or her mixing some combination of wine, whiskey, bourbon, pernod and beer, starting around 11 in the morning and not stopping til 4 a.m.

I can think of a few occasions when I stayed up past 4 a.m. drinking -- the attraction was never the alcohol, but the company. To be fair, I think Hemingway gets that. But it would be hard to sustain that kind of behavior for weeks at a time, as Hemingway's characters seem to do. Or maybe the drinks in the 1920s were smaller than they are these days...

Posted by Ideofact at July 25, 2007 01:23 AM