The novel is a roman à clef: the characters are based on real people in Hemingway’s circle, and the action is based on real events, particularly Hemingway’s life in Paris in the 1920s and a trip to Spain in 1925 for the Pamplona festival and fishing in the Pyrenees. Paris in the twenties: Pernod, parties and expatriate Americans, loose-living on money from home. Jake is wildly in love with Brett Ashley, aristocratic and irresistibly beautiful, with an abandoned, sensuous nature that she cannot change. When the couple drift to Spain to the dazzle of the fiesta and the heady atmosphere of the Bullfight, their affair is strained by new passions, new jealousies, and Jake must finally learn that he will never possess the woman that he loves.
Vintage Classics, 2000 (1926)