Karl's Reviews > The Garden of Eden

The Garden of Eden by Ernest Hemingway
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Mar 31, 08

Read in March, 2008

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 Hemingway creates a sense of atmosphere. However, Catherine (the main female character) is pretty much revealed to be out of her tiny little mind within the first 30 pages. David (the main male character) is a writer (and stand in for Hemingway) and I never really understood why he puts up with Catherine, let alone marries her. She's insane... from the get go, and not in a cute way. In a psycho way. He lets her run wild as he writes his novels. The book builds and builds up the pressure of jealousy until the eventual tragic end, which as a reader I saw coming and wondered why the characters didn't. I was loosing interest because of this, but the end of the book was definitely worth it. I also enjoyed Hemingway's writing on the nature of an artist creating, but was frustrated by the David/Catherine relationship. I could not understand why these two people were even together.
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Kari you only get recommended books with lots of drinking? pretty spot on review.


Peter Tavolacci The novel wanders because it was carved out of a 2000+ page manuscript by a young Scribner's publisher. Hemingway was losing his writing memory while trying to author this, so there is much repetition, but he does well to delineate his conception of art. The relationship between David and Catherine is Hemingway's take on sexual metamorphosis. She changes—they change together—each night. "I'm going to destroy you," says Catherine. The novel certainly isn't his most famous, but I think he deserves recognition for trying to qualify his entire existence—anyone deserves recognition for that. And yes, there are many delicious cocktails in the book, as well as a fantastic assortment of food (I love the eggs). One can certainly gain some weight reading this one.


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