70 Days With Hemingway And Me

Every Novel, Back to Back, Starting With the First

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Well, What Do You Know?

June 10th, 2009 · No Comments · The Torrents of Spring

I have been reading The Torrents of Spring sitting, cat-like, in a sunbeam on our balcony overlooking the water.

Here’s what I’ve noticed (so far) about Hemingway’s first novel:

1. It’s set in Michigan, where I was born, raised, and still live. (“Yogi Johnson stood looking out of the window of a big pump-factory in Michigan” – the first sentence of the first chapter).

2. Hemingway writes of Mancelona and Petoskey, two cities in Michigan to which I’ve been. (“Scripps O’Neil had two wives…One lived in Mancelona and the other lived in Petoskey” – the first sentence of the second paragraph of the first chapter).

3. Hemingway writes of Grand Rapids, my home town. (“After all, he did not have to go to Chicago…There was Grand Rapids. Once in Grand Rapids he could start in in the furniture business. Fortunes had been made that way. Grand Rapids furniture was famous wherever young couples walked in the evening to talk of home-making” – third page of chapter three).

Hemingway’s sentence structure is crisp. Yet, he packs a lot of emotion and thought into each word and sentence, this one for example: “Grand Rapids furniture was famous wherever young couples walked in the evening to talk of home-making.” That romanticizes Grand Rapids in a way I’d never read or heard before. The products we (used to) make are the stuff of promise, of young love and lives just starting out. I love Hemingway’s sentence about Grand Rapids!

Back to my sunbeam…

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