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The Garden of Eden
Ernest Hemingway
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The Garden of Eden

3.75 of 5 stars 3.75  ·  rating details  ·  10,261 ratings  ·  676 reviews
A sensational bestseller when it appeared in 1986, "The Garden of Eden" is the last uncompleted novel of Ernest Hemingway, which he worked on intermittently from 1946 until his death in 1961. Set on the Cote d'Azur in the 1920s, it is the story of a young American writer, David Bourne, his glamorous wife, Catherine, and the dangerous, erotic game they play when they fall i ...more
Hardcover, Large Print, 300 pages
Published December 31st 1987 by G. K. Hall & Company (first published January 1st 1986)
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Jason Koivu
Hemingway knows how to draw up a batshit crazy lady...but to be honest, I'm not even sure this is a genuine Ernest Hemingway novel. It might be a forgery. But we'll get to that later.

The Garden of Eden puts a newlywed couple's relationship under the microscope. David and Catherine are honeymooning in the Mediterranean. David is a writer. Catherine is a crazy bitch. David needs a security, time to write and support in his pursuits. Catherine needs occupation. She has too much time on her hands t
this is one of hemingway's most fascinating character studies, and like all his heroines in all of his books, i sort of fell in love with her. how i feel about this book is complicated and not for the faint of heart -- i love it, yes. but i almost feel a little invaded ... i had this idea in my head of this summer on the mediterranean when i was like, 14, and then to read this book ... well, it was wonderful and shocking in its truthfulness.

i still sometimes want to escape to live in this painfu
I can understand why many readers, especially Hemingway fans, would find this book (as well as Islands in the Stream, for that matter) to be a pointless slog through the authors psyche. The story is kind of weird, there isn't any action to speak of, the girlfriend swap is Hemingway at his most mysoginistic, and the book is unfinished, but Hemingway's beautiful portrayals of the people and places are what make Garden of Eden my most favorite book. I know this is the cheeziest line of all time (bu ...more
I couldn’t quite put my finger on what was bothering me through the first hundred or so pages of this book. Suddenly I realized – Garden of Eden is terrible. Just awful! Let me explain.

I adore the Hemingway canon top to bottom, even those weirdo bullfighting stories in Death in the Afternoon, and long ago came to terms with his manifold flaws as a person. But flaws outweigh brilliance here: the thing feels like it was written through a mist of fear and anger (towards women, fathers, homosexualit
I read this book for a college course and was dreading it. I thought - here we go - another book with manly hunter Hemingway about war and bullfighting and all things manly. Ugh! Oh but it was not to be. This book turned me around on Hemingway and made me see the genius that he is. Sadly the book is published posthumously and it is questionable how much Hemingway is in this book - but when I read this I did not know there was a lot of controversy surrounding this and just enjoyed it for what it ...more
I'm guessing that I came at Hemingway in a completely different way from most readers in that this posthumously published book was one of the first things that I ever read by him. And it was sort of an "a-ha" moment; so *this* is what they mean by the clean and lean Hemingway style... I fell into this book effortlessly, read it quickly, and was very affected (and impressed)by it. I know it's considered one of his inferior works, but who cares. I loved it.
There are numerous book descriptions here at GR. This says what you need to know:

"A sensational bestseller when it appeared in 1986, The Garden of Eden is the last uncompleted novel of Ernest Hemingway, which he worked on intermittently from 1946 until his death in 1961. Set on the Côte d'Azur in the 1920s, it is the story of a young American writer, David Bourne, his glamorous wife, Catherine, and the dangerous, erotic game they play when they fall in love with the same woman...."

The book was
Nov 08, 2007 Matt rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: people interested in relationships
Shelves: recommended
I love this book. I know a lot of people tend to bash it because it was released posthumously, in edited form, but I think it's brilliant as-is. The beginning of the book in particular, I like. Hemingway's simple description of eating eggs for breakfast makes me feel as if I'm at the table as well. It really paints a picture for me. To me, it seems that Hemingway probably never released this book more because of the subject matter than because of any writing flaws. In short, a tale of innocence ...more
The introduction tells the brief story of how the manuscript for this book was discovered after Hemingway’s death. It was unfinished, but they decided to publish the first half of it because it stood by itself as a cohesive work of merit.

Why the fuck people do this, I will never understand.

That’s not entirely true. It’s done for money. But still. It gets me the same way abridgments do. What makes an editor or a family member decide that they know a work better than the person who wrote it? It se
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This unfinished, posthumously published work continued my love/hate relationship with Hemingway. I love the characteristically strong and lovely prose and understated emotional subtext. I hate the fact that the character described on the back cover as Hemingway's most complex female character is a mentally ill and destructive woman deeply jealous of her husband's writing career, and that a relationship between two women is at one point described as something "women do when they don't have any be ...more
Not my favorite Hemingway, though I understand why it was recommended to me: there is a lot of drinking in it. I think my problem with the book was that it kind of wanders around not really getting to the point, which is probably a result of the book being released posthumously. The book revolves around a newly wed couple vacationing in France/Spain in the late 1920's. The couple gets up every morning, goes for a swim, wanders the countryside, and drinks in the cafes. I did really enjoy the way ...more
This book is complicated. No, the book is fairly straight forward, in most ways. How I feel about this book is complicated. First, I will say that I am exceedingly happy to have read it. The story and characters were fascinating. I only now thought that, as the story needed to marinate in my brain a little more than is usually required.

I want to pick the book apart, talk about the (crazy) characters, but I am incapable of doing so without mentioing unforgivable spoilers. I had issues with the ch
David Lentz
In this novel Hemingway plays the simple triangle of two bi-sexual women and a straight man for all it's worth. In the last published novel of Hemingway's the lean, muscular dialogue still rings clear and honest and true. The narrative is clean, compelling and minimalistic with details in the narrative that breed not only credibility but also trust in the verity of the narrator. I wondered if F. Scott Fitzgerald's many trials with Zelda, as Hemingway was a trusted confidant of Scott, had left mo ...more
After the publication of F. Scott Fitzgerald's Tender Is The Night, Hemingway wrote to Fitzgerald, a letter criticizing him on his failure as a writer. Here are a few select excerpts from that letter:

"Goddamn it you took liberties with people's pasts and futures that produced not people but damned marvellously faked case histories."

"...I've always claimed that you can't think."

"Invention is the finest thing but you cant invent something that would not actually happen."

"Of all people on earth
Marcus Schantz
I don't give many novels five star ratings but here it is deserved. This is a very heavy dose and caused an emotional reaction in myself that few books have. I was stunned while reading because of the issues and topics it deals with. Though written a long time ago, it's somehow modern and relevant. I know this story is loosely based on Hemingway's life and readers of a "A Moveable Feast" will quickly recognize and understand.
I could read this over and over and never get tired of it. It has been at the top of my favorite books list for a very long time. It's simple andIt's sparse and yet it speaks volumes about love and sex and men and women and our humanity and our imperfection. It's posthumous and even though it's different from everything else he wrote, it's still Papa.
Cheryl Klein
In a post-Midnight in Paris world, Hemingway sounds a lot like a parody of Hemingway. But once I got past that, I fell in love with the language and wanted to spend an infinite vacation motoring around Europe, boating and swimming and chatting up local fisherman, eating brioche and drinking whiskey with Perrier and getting my hair done every three days. And once I got past THAT, I realized, Oh, this is one of those Bitches Be Crazy books in which an absurd female disrupts the creativity of a man ...more
I didn't finish reading this book. I didn't like it...I expected something completely different. I had never read hemmingway before and wanted to give it a try. The book is choppy and hard to follow. I could never figure out the story line or point it was boring and after months and months of forcing myself to read one page at a time I gave up. I am embarrased to say. I gave up.. i disagreed with a lot of the principles he wrote about in the book. And although i realize it is important to have t ...more

Well, I confess I'm confused. I don't think I understood what the author was getting at with this book.

I didn't understand much, besides the fact David and Catherine had a somewhat dysfunctional marriage, that still worked because they were professing their love for each other all the time.

And that thing about Catherine being his girl and then sometimes being a guy was really weird. What was that about? What is some way they came up with to spice things a bit in bed? Or was it something else alt
I have become increasingly disappointed in reading the posthumous novels of Hemingway: Islands in the Stream, Under Kilimanjaro and now this one. It’s as if the publishers were trying to squeeze every ounce of value from the scraps left behind by this tortured genius who exited the literary scene too early. I am sure Hemingway the perfectionist would have objected to these works being published in the state they were in had he been alive.

The Garden of Eden tells the story of a threesome, a newly
So gutted that Hemingway killed himself before this got finished so I don't get to know what will happen but it is brilliant.. so taut, so fascinating a novel in a way. It is about a newly married couple and there is a really good character study of the wife in it. She wants to be a boy and she's a little crazy.

One of Hemingway's own sons, Gregory, was a transsexual and Hemingway sadly rejected him for that, so obviously this is an interesting piece of biography to know about, whether or not it
Very soon into Hemingway’s Garden of Eden, I began getting this “sudden empty feeling in [my] gut”—precisely what David Bourne, the novel’s lead character, experiences when he encounters the reality of his dysfunctional marriage. This emptiness became so pointed that I began reading the novel in small doses.

Now that I have finished and taken time to reflect, I have decided that my feelings were the result of a repeated search for meaning that came up empty. Every time I invested in the story of
Love it! It's dark, it's sensual, it's confusing, it's weird (reversing gender roles?), it's a challenge! Definitely a book you'd have to pay attention to while reading it. Hemingway's language is so simple and subtle and yet this work is so deep and scandalous! I appreciate that this book isn't a vulgar sexfest, although David does get passed between the women (without complaint, mind you) regularly; "today you're mine, next two days you're hers", etc. This is the first Hemingway book I've read ...more
Lewis Manalo
This is one sexiful book.

Set on the French Riviera, the book follows the erotic play of a writer and his new wife and what happens when their gender-bending games involve a young French woman.

Published posthumously and in a drastically shorter version than the drafts he left behind, GARDEN OF EDEN wasn't so critically embraced as the jacket copy would have you believe, but this is doing the reader a great disservice. I've never accepted the reigning idea that Hemingway was all about "male anxie
This book is not Hemingway I'm used to but it may just be the best Hemingway ever. It's really a fascinating read. I've always liked Hemingway. He writes such highly readable stuff, and does it with such ease. However, "The Garden of Eden" feels like something more. This novel is different,but in a good way,in a way it's more than I expected... it feels different. It has all those qualities one appreciates in Hemingway- that simple way of saying things- yet it shows a more vulnerable (and more i ...more
Nov 02, 2008 Chloe rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Chloe by: Stacie Sather
If I take anything away from this book, it should be the opening into understanding Hemingway's style that was written as clearly as anything else he's ever written:

"Be careful, he said to himself, it is all very well for you to write simply and the simpler the better. But do not start to think so damned simply. Know how complicated it is and then state it simply. Do you suppose the Grau du Roi time was all simple because you could write a little of it simply?"

I'm sure I'll have more to say lat
Jennifer Lauren Collins
Hemingway's creatures--his books and his characters--are so complete, whether you like them or not, that reading even this unfinished work is a bit like falling into another world, or even many worlds in the case of this Garden of Eden. And reading this work by Hemingway, in particular, is a bit like exploring his notebooks simply because there are aspects of so many of his different works, and the style here is both undeniably him...and wholly a bit foreign in some strange way. Perhaps that for ...more
I can't remember the last time I was this excited to read a book. Several months back there was a top 10 books list circulating on social media, and a couple of friends whose literary tastes I trust implicitly included this title among their favorites. Before beginning I stumbled upon the trailer for the film adaptation, which gave me some idea of what to expect, but the depth of these three character studies was more prodigious than I had anticipated.

I dislike my tendency to compare one book to
Okay, I've had to digest this book for a few days. I liked it. I loved it too. And I hated it. I kept changing my mind as to whether it was worth reading or not, but couldn't put it down, either. It did make me (finally) appreciate Hemingway's writing, but the characters were not to be liked. Quite ridiculous, really. But that's okay. Two young Americans on their honeymoon in France...for weeks and weeks, drinking, swimming, sunning, indulging. The husband, a writer, tries to be productive a par ...more
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Ernest Miller Hemingway was an American author and journalist. His economical and understated style had a strong influence on 20th-century fiction, while his life of adventure and his public image influenced later generations. Hemingway produced most of his work between the mid-1920s and the mid-1950s, and won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1954. He published seven novels, six short story collec ...more
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