Ernie says “Up Yours” – “The Torrents of Spring” by Ernest Hemingway
There’s some good stuff happening in Ernest Hemingway’s 1926 novella, “The Torrents of Spring.” Interesting characters navigate a landscape of work, love, and dinner. One working class man makes friends with two Native Americans, while another marries one waitress only to discover he’s interested in another, which leads the wife to think she could win him back if she read book reviews.
Now, in order to fully understand the book at it’s deepest level, one needs to understand that Hemingway (who wrote it early in his career) intended it as a parody of a Sherwood Anderson novel called “Dark Laughter.”
Don’t worry, I haven’t read that book either. That’s not what interests me.
Turns out, Hemingway wrote “The Torrents of Spring” to satirize writers in general – but mainly to break a contract with his then-publishers. He had a three book deal with a company, but there was a caveat that if a manuscript he submitted was rejected, the contract was null and void.
So, Hemingway wrote this novella in ten days with the full intention that it get rejected.
And it was.
Isn’t that the most wonderful thing?
I picked up my copy of “The Torrents of Spring” at the Little Traverse Historical Museum in Petoskey, MI. Petoskey (as detailed in the post from three days back) was a frequent and favorite stop of Hemingways, and the novella takes place on those very same city streets where the Museum is located.
As a novella, it’s short and interesting enough. It won’t waste too much of your time. By no means is it the best book ever written, and I’m going to flat-out say there’s really no point in your reading it, unless you’re a hard-core Hemingway fan (which I’m realizing more and more I’m not.)
It’s purely the historical context that made me smile.
Giving the finger to the industry that made him a legend, that’s Ernest Hemingway in a nutshell.