The Garden of Eden was Hemingway’s attempt to move beyond his literary and public persona toward a new, fuller level. The fact that he did not complete the book, and left the work in a confusing manuscript form with multiple endings and a lack of cohesive force, shows how hard this project was for him as a writer and a man.
The Scribners 1986 version of The Garden of Eden gave readers a view of what Hemingway in part wanted to accomplish. The manuscript is over 200,000 words, while the novel comes in at 70,000. Much was cut out, and the ending gives a more sanguine view of the story than Hemingway perhaps envisioned.
This novel should be read, and Hemingway’s The Garden of Eden: Twenty-Five years of Criticism. For the committed reader, this collection of essays explores all the problems associated with this novel and its manuscript. It gives a glimpse of what the full intention of Hemingway may well have been.