The Hemingway Hoax by Joe Haldeman

The Hemingway HoaxThis is the best novella I have read in recent memory. Haldeman’s The Hemingway Hoax won a Hugo and Nebula in the nineties. The tale concerns an English Professor named John Baird who meets a conman named Sylvester Castlemaine. Castlemaine, with a bit of help from Baird’s wife Lena, convinces Baird to help him fabricate Hemingway’s first novel, and several short stories stolen from Hadley Hemingway on a train ride to Lausanne in 1921. Baird soon discovers that his con will have a dramatic effect upon the future of humanity.

The Hemingway Hoax was a very good read; Haldeman excels at creating humor through incongruity. Haldeman borrows chapter titles from Hemingway’s novels and short stories then connects the content of his chapters with the content of Hemingway’s works in clever ways. For example, a chapter entitled Sun Also Rises deals with maiming and war injuries. The Hemingway Hoax also reveals several interesting facts about the life of Ernst Hemingway; namely that he rewrote his life story at least once and that he wasn’t always a rugged individualist. I highly recommend The Hemingway Hoax.

Availability: USMAI
Review Submitted by: Kevin Oldfield
Rating: Highly Recommended

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