I discovered this anthology after reading Hills like White Elephants in a 200 level Lit Course. Men Without Women contains a number of bleak, gritty short stories. “The Undefeated” is a character study of a fatalistically courageous bullfighter; an athlete who has passed his prime. Hemingway’s bullfighter, Manuel Garcia, is the polar opposite of Hemingway’s repentant coward: Francis Macomber. “In Another Country” relates an unnamed protagonist’s convalescence in an Italian hospital and the strange amalgamation of camaraderie and enmity between the American protagonist and his Italian comrades.
The best story in the collection is “Now I Lay Me.” In “Now I Lay Me” Hemingway’s protagonist is a soldier, suffering from PTSD, who believes his soul will slip from his body if he sleeps. I highly recommend Men Without Women, particularly the stories “In Another Country,” “Hills Like White Elephant,” “The Undefeated”, and “Fifty Grand.”
Review Submitted by: Kevin Oldfield
Rating: Highly Recommended
Read Marissa Parlock’s review of Hemingway’s The Sun Also Rises.