I'm not a big fan of Hemingway. He wasn't so kind to his female characters, and I never really connected to his prose (though I can see how others might.) But there was one story of his that I really liked, a short one, maybe six pages long, called, I think, "The Cat In The Rain." (I'm sure someone can correct me if I'm wrong.)
In it (and I am sooo paraphrasing here), a young American couple are trapped in a hotel room during a rainy day somewhere in France, maybe Paris. She's miserable, and is bored, bored, bored. He's happy as can be to just do his work, except that he finds her whining annoying. Eventually she goes down to the lobby, and sees a cat outside on the patio. She tried to get the cat inside, out of the rain. She is unsuccessful. She goes back upstairs, and exchanges more words with her man. A few moments later, there is a knock at the door; the hotel manager has managed to get the cat and bring it up to her, to try and make her happy. I believe she starts crying at that point.
Yesterday it rained in Berlin, and I couldn't have been happier. I went out and bought three books. I read two fairly superficial novellas in a day, Model Behavior by Jay McInerney (I was just checking in to see if he's any different than the last time I read him; he isn't), and Shopgirl by Steve Martin, wherein Steve Martin, a smart man, explains smart ideas to so that dumb people who think they are smart, can feel like they're even smarter now. And oh yea, there's a love story, too.
I've got a little grudge against Steve Martin, ever since I saw him give an incorrect answer to a really obvious literature question in his role as "Phone A Friend" on "Who Wants To Be A Millionaire." The question was: Which of these novels was written in first-person? The answer was: The Great Gatsby. Ol' Steve immediately discounted the correct answer, and I can't remember what his response was now. I was yelling at the screen, "It's the classic unreliable narrator case study! Great Gatsby!" (I learned that my sophomore year of high school, kids.) My roommate gave me a funny look, and then I stopped yelling.
Chevy Chase lost like, 100k for some charity. Fucking Steve Martin and his superficial novella. Who writes novellas anymore anyway?
I've actually been thinking about Chevy Chase and Steve Martin as I walk through Berlin and look at street names. Chase, because of Fletch, and the running joke of that film where he gives a mumbled extended version of a name so that no one can understand him, and Martin, because of his character in The Man With Two Brains, who's name was something like "Dr. Hurrfurrurrrr", and no one could pronounce it right. I can't pronounce any of these street names, and they seem to spill over in my mouth, until finally I get to say, "Strasse!" I read them, and then mumble in my head, and think of two of The Three Amigos, and how they would say them where they standing next to me at that moment.
My favorite street name of the day, which I saw as I headed to the Museum of Contemporary Art, was "Invalidenstrasse," which made me think that they street was either wrong or didn't exist. Turns out, historically, it actually was a street where they tended to sick people, or invalids. Duh. I'm so dumb.
But at least I know Gatsby was written in first person.