Hemingway’s “The Killers”

“The Killers” could also be called “The Further Adventures of Nick Adams”.  As with Ernest Hemingway’s other Nick Adams stories, the reader gets the idea there is more to the story than just what happens in this one.  Since Hemingway wrote a number of stories revolving around Nick Adams, they would be right.  At least by me, it’s been difficult to put any of the stories together.  Perhaps that wasn’t the intention.

This story has Nick sitting at a lunch-counter when two apparent thugs walk in and sit down.  Problems ensue as the thugs, who I imagine looking like Joe Pesci (particularly the Joe Pesci in Good Fellas), make known their plan to kill one of the regular customers.  When this regular customer does not show up, they move on.

Nick takes a walk over to the apartment of this regular customer, Ole Andreson.  A former boxer, Andreson’s life seems to have taken a turn for the worse.  The reader never gets to know the details of what “went down” between Anderson and the thugs.  Hemingway focuses on Andreson’s loss of dignity rather than what he specifically did to warrant the thugs to want to kill him.

The conversation at the lunch-counter has the tone of a black and white movie, maybe one starring Humphrey Bogart, but I’m not sure whom he would portray- George, the lunch-counter manager, perhaps?

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6 responses to “Hemingway’s “The Killers”

  1. Hi Dale,

    First, some good news: I was cleaning out my “office” (second bedroom) at home and I found in a box of books my collection of Hemingway’s “First Forty-Nine” short stories. (for almost a year I had no idea where I hadput it – I had no idea that this particular box even had books in it, that’s how we’ll organized I am) I am so excited! lol

    Anyway, The Killers is included in this collection and I will probably read it here today after the Colts game (sounds like the type of storyis which Hemingay excels).

    -Jay

    • I know what you mean, Jay! I used to have a book of F. Scott Fitzgerald short stories that I can’t find anywhere. I’ve been in the habit of checking out Half Price Books for short story collections. I haven’t bought any there lately, but I did get anthologies of Robert Louis Stevenson’s short works and Mark Twain’s stories at a library book sale. -Dale

  2. Oh, and I just read a great story this morning myself, Margaret Atwood’s “Significant Moments in the Life of My Mother.” I was struck by how reminiscent it was of Gilead, just in the short story format. So many great observations on life and family relationships. It was one of my favorites of the yearso far.

    • This one sounds good! I might have to read it this year. Not that I’m keeping track, but I realized that I’ve only read one short story by a female author this year. I’ve made up for it with my novel/non-fiction reading, though.

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