The Short, Happy Life of Francis Macomber

It starts off the collection, and it’s pretty long (for a Hemingway short story). All about a safari in Africa. Interesting, told from the safari guide’s point of view, who OF COURSE finds the wife attractive. The husband, Macomber (only in his mid-30s, but intimidated by the safari guide), is portrayed as a wimp. Despite these clichés of manhood and/or lack thereof, self finds herself empathizing much with Macomber. His reluctance to shoot the lion, for instance.

In this short story, the meal in question is breakfast.

Robert Wilson, the guide, has kippers and coffee.

“Finish your breakfast and we’ll be starting.”

Also, the lion’s point of view is part of this story. Pretty cool, that part. And you will feel, in your bones, how disgusting it is to hunt lions. Feeling and knowing are two different things.

Wife rewards Big Lion-Hunter with a kiss on the mouth, right in front of her husband. Guess Hemingway thinks that’s what all real men deserve, when they’ve finished off a lion. They deserve to be rewarded with a kiss from a beautiful woman. Because — hey! Hunter-killers are rad! Self can’t think of any story she’s ever read that infuriated her so much.

Story becomes very noir-ish towards the end, characters speak very “posh,” in a version of British stiff-upper-lip.

Her sympathies to Macomber.

Stay tuned.

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Iain Kelly

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