This was a delightful short read. The Hemingway Hoax was loaned to me by my friend Amy, librarian (newly, my coworker librarian! yay!), science fiction enthusiast, and science fiction author to boot. (I wrote briefly about one of her short stories here.) After my recent raving about Hemingway’s Boat (my review to come at Shelf Awareness), she lent me her signed, personalized copy, ooooh. It’s an easy read at 150ish pages; I ran right through it at one sitting.
David Baird is a college professor and Hemingway scholar. He and his (much younger, former student) wife are summering in Key West, where they meet a con man with a scheme to “find” the manuscripts of Hemingway’s early short stories, and a partial novel, that H’s first wife Hadley lost on a train in their Paris days. Baird, with his expertise, should be able to successfully forge them. In so doing, however, he gets wrapped up… transported through times… to parallel universes… meets the Hemingways of various eras… or does he? I won’t ruin the whole surprise, but there is time travel and questions about What Is Real. Some bad things happen. Or do they?
I enjoyed the Hoax. It had suspense, interesting characters, intrigue. It had Hemingway! And the Hemingway parts were well done; Haldeman knows his Papa well enough to pull this off without offending the armchair Hemingway scholar. (I didn’t pick it apart or check references or anything but it held together.) And that would have been a deal-breaker for me, of course. Not for the first time, I say: this is sci fi? I thought I didn’t like sci fi! Well done, Amy. You may keep lending me books. Thank you!