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The Garden of Eden

The Garden of Eden

by Giuseppe TovarNovember 18, 2013


The plot of The Garden of Eden, a novel written by Ernest Hemingway, and published after his death, focuses on David Bourne, an American writer who recently got married with Catherine (whom David usually refers to as “Devil”). In the beginning the recently married couple are in the south of France on their honeymoon, they are devoted sensual pleasures and take enjoyment in the simple pleasures as well, like bathing in the sea and lying in the sun with cold bottles of wine wrapped in towels, sleeping and waking up late, having hearty meals, traveling by car to the villages in the vicinity, taking naps, and drinking absinthe or whisky with Perrier, or some good, cold wines, then back for a a swim, usually naked, in hidden coves or beaches that are difficult to access. Thus begins what is considered a major turning point in the thematic of Hemingway. Catherine, becomes obsessed with becoming as tan and dark as possible, at the same time she cuts her hair very, very short, lik a boy’s style, and somewhat forces David to cut his hair exactly the same.

Catherine begins to play with the idea of exchanging roles “Today I will be the boy and you the girl, ok, David?” she says.  They move to Spain, where unfortunately they can no longer bathe naked on the beaches of the Basque Country, for they would be arrested in that country if they did.

But, then the duo become a trio, as the newlyweds meet Marita, a beautiful woman dark skin and dark hair. And she and Catherine now share David.  And so, with a brunette and a blond at his arm, fulfilling the dream of the average male population, David has to cope with the insufferable situation. The poor man.

But is Ernest Hemingway really behind the writing of The Garden of Eden? I have to confess that I’ve yet to think about it. There are parts that are undoubtedly Hemingway, which are similar to other of his works. From the middle of the book onward, David begins to write a story, of the sort that Hemingway typically wrote. A story located in Africa, where David reminds us of a real event in his childhood in which he, his drunken father and a native scout stalk an elephant to kill him and take its tusks. Each chapter contains a part of this story, which blends with the development of the plot. This story could pass as one of the standard African stories by Hemingway on its own, and is quite good indeed.



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About The Author
Giuseppe Tovar
  • Erik
    November 18, 2013 at 5:15 am

    Am I the only one that is suspicious? Hemingway began to write this work in 1946 and further refined it during fifteen years. He left some eight hundred pages written (the novel has two hundred and fifty). Fifteen years worth of notes and the Editors took three months to make a book out of it? This novel was a contemporary of many of the other novels that shone a light on the life of the author, such as The Old Man and the Sea or a Moveable Feast, but this did not go to the printers until twenty-five years after the death of Hemingway. It is, therefore, a posthumous work, although completed in life, that is, with a deep interpretation, great imagination and a lively prose that deals with the complexity of love and artistic creation through an atypical love triangle between the protagonist, David Bourne, his wife Catherine and a young man who Catherine placed in the path of her husband. This is not exactly an autobiographical novel, although the protagonist is an American writer who begins to greet success; rather, it is the revelation of the tenderness and vulnerability that Hemingway, hid behind his large than life public persona.

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