"The Snows of Kilimanjaro" is a short story by Ernest Hemingway. It was first published in Esquire magazine in 1936. It was republished in The Fifth Column and the First Forty-Nine Stories in 1938, The Snows of Kilimanjaro and Other Stories in 1961, and is included in The Complete Short Stories of Ernest Hemingway: The Finca Vigía Edition (1987).
The story opens with a paragraph about Mount Kilimanjaro, the highest mountain in Africa, which is also called the “House of God.” There, we are told, lies the frozen carcass of a leopard near the summit. No one knows why it is there at such altitude.
We are introduced to Harry, a writer dying of gangrene, and Helen, who is with him on safari in Africa. They are stranded in the camp, because a bearing in their truck's engine burnt out. Harry's situation makes him irritable, and he speaks about his impending death in a matter-of-fact, sarcastic way that upsets Helen. He quarrels with her over minute things, from whether he should drink a whiskey and soda, to whether she should read to him. Helen is obviously concerned for his welfare, but Harry's frustration makes him talk unpleasantly towards her.
Charlton Heston's 1998 recording of Hemingway's classic 1938 short story makes its CD debut a decade later. The story itself needs no introduction. This tale of man versus nature, and in turn himself, is a theme Hemingway repeatedly analyzed and returned to throughout his career. The narration doesn't get much better than this, with Heston offering a stern, compelling reading that breathes new life into the material. He offers a truly surprising reading that is underplayed, never going over the top or unnecessarily overemphasizing the prose. Heston's believability offers a slightly different take on the story, a classic tale that demands repeated listenings.