Short Story #245: Wine of Wyoming by Ernest Hemingway

Title:  Wine of Wyoming

Author:  Ernest Hemingway


Picture of Ernest Hemingyway - nameless narrator visits, the Fontans, a French couple in Wyoming who are making illegal booze during Prohibition.  Two drunk men arrive asking for beer but the Madame Fontan pretends they are all out.  After they leave, she ccontinuesserving alcohol, scoffing at the American drunks.  Later that night, he visits the Fontan for dinner where he tell them he has been working on his book.  Madam Fontan continues to push food upon him.  They continue with small talk about their different activities they have been pursuing.  Madam Fontan asks the narrator how he likes American which he says he likes because he is from there.  They move on to discussing muskrats and shooting them and eventually, religion.  Madam Fontan believes it is not good to be Catholic in America.  The conversation focuses on a Catholic that is running for president that the narrator doesn't believe will win.  He returns the next day for another hot afternoon of chatting, feeding, and drinking.  The conversation returns to the drunk Americans who show up asking for liquor.  He returns again the next day for some beer and promises to return in the evening when the three bottles of wine will be ready as a gift.  Unfortunately, he does not return that night.  When he does come by to say goodbye, the wine they were supposed to get was drank up and they would need to get more.  When they go to get some more, the storehouse is locked and they cannot get in without risking letting others know that there are illegal booze in the storehouse.  They return back to the front of the house and chat briefly before leaving and it is clear that the narrator has disappointed the Fontans. 


A good amount of the story was in French which was all right because I could make out most of it.  However, the story as a whole felt rather lackluster.  It's Hemingway which means there's a lot of nuance about the nature of the narrator and his relation to his French friends and there's certainly interesting commentary on American culture, Europeans, and the ideas of hospitality, but it felt too distracting interspersed with the French.  

Short Story #245 out of 365
Rating: 2 (out of 5 stars)
Date Read:  7/20/2014
Source:  The short story can be found at this website.  

For a full listing of all the short stories in this series, check out the category 365 Short Stories a year.

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