Everybody Behaves Badly: The True Story Behind Hemingway’s Masterpiece The Sun Also Rises

By Lesley M. M. Blume

Eamon Dolan/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (e-book)

4/5 stars

He was fond of a couple of shandies, that Ernest Hemingway. Just as well, because otherwise the world might never have known his startlingly progressive novel The Sun Also Rises. The result of a trip made in 1925 by Hemingway and his chums to Pamplona, Spain, for the bull-running festivities, it crystallised out of weeks of drinking, brawling and sexual betrayal – and transformed Hemingway into a literary phenomenon. Blume’s compelling book is the tale of that trip and of the characters Hemingway lifted from real life and dropped onto the page – the aristocratic, the dissolute and the noble, who became known as the Lost Generation – as well as a deft reconstruction of the Spain and Paris of the artistic 1920s. The Sun Also Rises took the gong for first commercially successful work of modern literature. As Blume shows, it has been influencing what we read and think ever since.