Snows of Kilimanjaro: A Brief History of the Book

The Snows of Kilimanjaro is a classic collection of short stories written by Ernest Hemingway, one of the most renowned American writers of the 20th century. Published in 1936, this timeless book consists of stories that portray Hemingway’s distinctive writing style and his exploration of various themes.

The Journey of Harry Street

The centerpiece of The Snows of Kilimanjaro is the eponymous short story, which follows the journey of Harry Street, a writer and adventurer. Set in Africa, the story begins with Harry lying on a cot due to an infected leg. While waiting to be rescued, he contemplates his life and reflects on his past experiences.

Harry reminisces about his luxurious lifestyle in Paris as an expatriate writer and recalls his relationships with women, including his wife and an African woman named Cynthia. As he battles his infection, he is haunted by regrets and unfulfilled dreams.

Hemingway expertly weaves themes of death, regret, and the pursuit of personal fulfillment throughout the narrative. Through introspection and conversations with his wife, Harry attempts to make peace with his choices and confront his fear of dying without achieving his true potential.

Critical Acclaim and Awards

The Snows of Kilimanjaro received both critical acclaim and numerous awards upon its release. Critics applauded Hemingway’s masterful storytelling, his crisp and concise prose, and his ability to capture the essence of human emotion.

The book was also recognized with the prestigious O. Henry Award for the best short story of the year in 1938, further cementing Hemingway’s status as a literary icon. Many readers and scholars consider The Snows of Kilimanjaro to be one of Hemingway’s finest works.

Memorable Characters

In addition to Harry Street, The Snows of Kilimanjaro introduces readers to several memorable characters who play significant roles in the stories:

1. Helen:

Harry’s wife, Helen, appears in the story as a loving and supportive partner. Through her conversations with Harry, she reveals her own desires, concerns, and understanding of his complex personality.

2. Cynthia:

Cynthia is an African woman with whom Harry had a passionate affair. Even though she only appears briefly in the story, her presence serves as a reminder of the choices Harry made and the consequences they had on his life.

3. Uncle Roger:

Uncle Roger is Harry’s wealthy and aristocratic uncle, who is significant in his life as a source of financial stability and influence. His relationship with Harry and their dialogues add depth to Harry’s character and motivations.


The Snows of Kilimanjaro is an exceptional literary work that combines Hemingway’s unique storytelling prowess with profound reflections on life, regret, and mortality. Through its beautifully crafted narratives and memorable characters, this book continues to captivate readers interested in exploring the depths of human experiences and emotions.

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