Men Without Women
First published in 1927, Men Without Women represents some of Hemingway's most important and compelling early writing. In these fourteen stories, Hemingway begins to examine the themes that would occupy his later works: the casualties of war, the often uneasy relationship between men and women, sport and sportsmanship. In "Banal Story," Hemingway offers a lasting tribute to the famed matador Maera. "In Another Country" tells of an Italian major recovering from war wounds as he mourns the untimely death of his wife. "The Killers" is the hard-edged story about two Chicago gunmen and their potential victim. Nick Adams makes an appearance in "Ten Indians," in which he is presumably betrayed by his Indian girlfriend, Prudence. And "Hills Like White Elephants" is a young couple's subtle, heartwrenching discussion of abortion. Pared down, gritty, and subtly expressive, these stories show the young Hemingway emerging as America's finest short story writer.
Men Without Women was a milestone in Hemingway's career. Fiesta had already established him as a novelist of exceptional power, but with these short stories, his second collection, he showed that it is possible, within the space of a few pages, to recreate a scene with absolute truth, bringing to life details observed only by the eye of a uniquely gifted artist. Hemingway's men are bullfighters and boxers, hired hands and hard drinkers, gangsters and gunmen. Each of their stories deals with masculine toughness unsoftened by woman's hand. Incisive, hard-edged, pared down to the bare minimum, they are classic Hemingway territory - they helped establish him as one of the great literary authors of the twentieth century, and one of the best American authors of all time.