The Garden of Eden Book Summary and Study Guide

Detailed plot synopsis reviews of The Garden of Eden

In this novel, Ernest Hemingway uses his unique writing style to show the important effect that someone's history actually has on their future. The story revolves around three main characters; David Bourne, an American writer, his bride Catherine, and a girl they meet on their honeymoon, Marita. Throughout the book, David slowly becomes aware that Catherine is becoming, or is already, mentally ill. She starts acting strangely, asking him things that he would never imagine his pure, ladylike bride to even think of, for example, she suddenly wishes to switch roles while they make love, even asking him to pretend to be her, and to let her pretend to be him. At first she keeps this between the two of them, always trying hard to be ladylike in public, until they meet a women that they both seemingly fall in love with. A very well writen novel, with descriptions of everything from the taste of the foods they eat, to the different smells and feels of the lands. A very captivating love-triangle between a writer still struggling with his past, a pretty bride who is very ill, and another young woman in love with both of them, and how easy their safe, normal lives can fall to pieces.
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The review of this Book prepared by Anelise Conaway

David and Catherine Bourne are newly-weds honeymooning in the South of France. David has just had his second book published to good reviews and Catherine is supporting his writing with her own wealth. Beautiful, rich and one a writer they are loved and admired by the people they encounter. However as David begins to start on his third novel Catherine begins to stray into craziness. She has her hair cut like a boy's and decides she wants to invite another woman into their relationship. Marita is found in a café and herself a wealthy heiress she worships David and loves Catherine. Catherine explores her sexuality with Marita and agrees to share David with her also. The book follows the threesome as they drink and swim during the day and drive their Bugatti into Cannes for shopping trips and trips to the hairdresser. David begins each day alone writing a short story about a hunting trip he did as a small boy with his father to kill a huge elephant. Catherine's craziness comes to a head after David and Marita have sex together and she burns his reviews and the short stories he has been working so hard on. David is furious but is gentle with his wife because he is worried about her craziness. Catherine leaves him and runs off to Paris and David asks Marita to be his new wife. The book is wonderful to read for anyone who likes to write as it describes the writing process in all its glory. This beautiful book was published posthumously and is my favourite Hemingway novel – a gem!
The review of this Book prepared by John Marcel

Chapter Analysis of The Garden of Eden

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Plot & Themes

Tone of book?    -   depressed Time/era of story    -   1900-1920's Romance/Romance Problems    -   Yes Life of a profession:    -   writer Is this an adult or child's book?    -   Adult or Young Adult Book Job/Profession/Status story    -   Yes Lover is    -   mentally ill Unmarried Love Triangle?    -   Yes

Main Character

Gender    -   Male Profession/status:    -   writer Age:    -   20's-30's Ethnicity/Nationality    -   White (American)


How much descriptions of surroundings?    -   6 () Europe    -   Yes European country:    -   France    -   Spain Africa    -   Yes Misc setting    -   resort/hotel

Writing Style

Sex in book?    -   Yes What kind of sex:    -   descript of kissing    -   touching of anatomy    -   lesbians! Amount of dialog    -   significantly more dialog than descript    -   roughly even amounts of descript and dialog

Books with storylines, themes & endings like The Garden of Eden

Ernest Hemingway Books Note: the views expressed here are only those of the reviewer(s).
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