Ernest Hemingway’s first piece of long-form literature, The Torrents of Spring, is a satirical novella that the great American author wrote in just ten days and is a rare early example of his work.
Set in small-town America in Northern Michigan, The Torrents of Spring follows two characters: a writer, Scripps O’Neill, and a Great War veteran, Yogi Johnson. Scripps represents the small-mindedness of suburban America and repeatedly falls in love with women who claim to have knowledge of literature, whereas Yogi has fought in the First World War, experienced a severe injury, and fallen in love in Paris. Throughout the novella, Yogi struggles to fall in love with someone new, and he represents the Lost Generation of Jazz Age literature.
First published in 1926, The Torrents of Spring was intended to parody Sherwood Anderson’s Dark Laughter (1925) and the modern realists of the Roaring 20s. It is an effective satire of these styles while maintaining hidden depths of meaning. Hemingway’s novella is a highly entertaining and short book, which would make an excellent read for those who wish to begin collecting classic American literature.