This is the story of Lieutenant Henry, an American, and Catherine Barkley, a British nurse. The two meet in Italy, and almost immediately Hemingway sets up the central tension of the novel: the tenuous nature of love in a time of war.
The two begin an affair, with Henry quite convinced that he "did not love Catherine Barkley nor had any idea of loving her. This was a game, like bridge, in which you said things instead of playing cards." Soon enough, however, the game turns serious - so serious that Henry is considering deserting. How much will he give up for this uncertain love?
A Farewell to Arms provides an unblinking portrayal of men and women behaving with grace under pressure and somehow finding the courage to go on in the face of certain loss.