Frustrated that reviewers continued to pin him into Anderson's court, Hemingway declared his independence in this book that is really about the "smallness" of suburban American life (read: Anderson's "Winesburg, OH" and Hemingway's own Oak Park) as opposed to the cosmopolitan experience of expatriate Left Bank Paris and the recent War in Europe. Scripps is a dullard who knows nothing of life outside of the beanery where he falls in love twice in a short span to women who talk of high literature but know nothing of experiencing it (an absurd inconsistency present in the authors Hemingway skewers here) while Yogi has fought in the Great War with his right side injured (Hemingway), been to and loved a mysterious woman in Paris (Hemingway), and is looked up to as a good storyteller by two "Indians" who speak absurdly hokey and bad native American speech.
It is a harsh thing to insult the person to which you owe your first publishing deal, as well as much of your writing style, but if you have read much of the biographical material on Hemingway, you will know that he was a hugely selfish and egotistical person. But here we have a more farcical view of Indians than those found in the Nick Adams tales. Anyway, the book is a little funny, but I notice Hemingway is funniest when he is insulting things, as many authors are I guess.
I've rated this one star not based on what I think of its literary quality, but based on the enjoyment I felt reading it. Anyway, his introduction begins thus: Thirty-one years ago when I read 'The Torrents of Spring' and wrote an introduction to it, I thought it was screamingly funny. There's no mention of when the introduction itself was written, but as "The Torrents of Spring" was first published in 1926 and first published in the UK in 1964, I'll assume that Garnett's introduction was written around 1964 - and he would have been around and old enough to read the authors Hemingway parodied back when they were getting published. I certainly haven't read anything written by him - perhaps, had I been American, or had I been more interested in the literature of the early 20th century, I might have, but as it is, I'd need a goddamn companion to the literature and literary atmosphere of the 1920's to understand the finer points. The town sign says "Petoskey". People do all sorts of things and tell weird stories, but it feels like I'm constantly missing the joke and/or not understanding what's said on page. Occasionally, chapters end with things like "Borne on the wind, there came to Scripps's ears the sound of a far-off Indian war-whoop." Occasionally, Hemingway adds "Author's notes" addressing the reader and describing things like Scott Fitzgerald coming to his house and sitting down in the fireplace and not allowing the fire to be lit for hours (which, ok, was funny), or begging readers to read and recommend his novel, and promising to read the reader's own writings. I'm not sure where the inspiration to add this stuff came from back in 1926, but it felt oddly familiar to me from reading online stories whose authors often beg for comments, maybe in exchange for leaving comments of their own on the readers' texts. If this had anything to do with what Hemingway was parodying, it would be an interesting instance of author practices coming full circle, but I somehow can't be bothered to find out.
Suffice to say, that a 10 day book, not written with anywhere close to the amounts of Benzedrine Kerouac used to write On the Raod, it's a quite alright book, depicting a part of America, most at the time (I believe) was neglected and deliberately forgotten.
I first read this book in college, when I was consuming everything that Hemingway wrote and thought everything he wrote was spun gold. I thought that as an adult with a better appreciation for the literary world that Hemingway was lampooning I would like it more, and after reading it for a second time, I have no idea why I thought that and want to yell at me from five days ago. I mean, sure, you can place this book in some kind of historical context - Hem was trying to get out of his contract and wrote something that would get rejected, it was the twenties, on and on. It's kind of a bummer to see people on Goodreads saying, "This is my first book by Hemingway" and you want to message all of them and tell them about all the great stuff he wrote later, but hey, Hem published the stupid thing.
Trotzdem, die Geschichte ist irgendwie faszinierend in ihrer Form - mit den kurzen und knappen Sätzen, den Wiederholungen, dem schrägen Umgang mit den Figuren und den angriffigen Bemerkungen des Autoren an die Leser.
He published seven novels, six short story collections and two non-fiction works. Three novels, four collections of short stories and three non-fiction works were published posthumously. After his 1927 divorce from Hadley Richardson, Hemingway married Pauline Pfeiffer.