Let’s just set things straight, right off the bat: I am not a Hemingway groupie. I have read several of his books but have never been in awe of his greatness as others are. I had honestly never heard of Across the River and into the Trees until my mom gave me a copy once she’d finised reading it. This is one of Hemingway’s later novels.
Across the River and into the Treescovers three days in the life of Colonel Richard Cantwell, who is retired from the US army. He spends these 3 days in Venice, Italy, where he nearly died during World War I. Cantwell is in declining health with serious heart issues. He spends his time going on duck hunts and spending time with a much younger woman: a 19 year old Venetian Contessa named Renata. Renata is described as extremely beautiful and someone who causes men’s heads to turn as she walks by. Richard is in love with Renata and calls her “daughter”. Renata barely speaks English and seems to be enthralled with his tales of battle.
I didn’t like the character of Cantwell at all. I couldn’t see why a young beauty like Renata would want to be with him. It was not a believable relationship. The best part of the book for me were the parts that painted a picture of the city of Venice with its canals and gondolas. Overall though, the book kind of bored me. *yawn* But , maybe I am just too lowbrow.