I have often thought that there should be a reluctance on the part of the estate of a deceased writer to publish any of an author's works posthumously...moreI have often thought that there should be a reluctance on the part of the estate of a deceased writer to publish any of an author's works posthumously. Seriously, if the book was finished and the writer hadn't bothered to take it to the publisher, what would you assume his motives to be? An aversion to money, perhaps? This book is one of several that was published after Hemingway's suicide, and I wouldn't be at all surprised if he hadn't published it simply because he felt that it wasn't good enough. If that was the case, I agree with him completely.
There are some parts of the book that I found engaging; Hemingway knew fishing and firearms and draws the reader in when he writes on those topics. Regrettably, there is far too little of that in this book. When he is not writing about physical action, he bogs down in unlikely and tedious dialogue and improbable thought processes. His protagonist, Thomas Hudson, seems detached and dispassionate, almost to the point of being uninvolved in the whole story. And that, incidentally, is a name I will never forget...because Hemingway uses the full name each and every time he refers to the protagonist; Thomas Hudson did this and Thomas Hudson did that. I got heartily sick of the name by the time I toiled through the book.
Overall, the book has a dark and brooding tone, more in keeping with Conrad than Hemingway although Hemingway is never exactly a ray of sunshine in any of his works. I don't think Hemingway ever intended it to be printed. In any event, I feel that I have been robbed of some of my reading time.(less)