This book is kind of bad in a way that frustrates me and reminds me a lot of what I think is probably the worst (not exactly the worst but the worst of the best) Connie Willis story where HL Mencken’s ghost shows up to comment on the world.
We begin in a bar where an academic is approached by another man and they determine they have a mutual love for Hemingway and they concoct a scheme to pass off forgeries and scam writings as lost manuscripts of Ernest Hemingway. And ostensibly I don’t mind this at all as I do happen to like stories about forgeries and scams and literary discoveries. So they also determine that they’ll have to conduct some serious research and hunt for the specific typewriters that Hemingway was famously known for using. So far so good. And also this taps into a kind of alternate reality/time travel loop that disrupts time and space and brings a Hemingway avatar into their life and yep you just lost me.
So in my estimation this brings into my reading some of the worst habits of sci fi writers in particular, but a lot of writers (and a lot of genre writers) which is the kind of insecurity that comes with the unfair reputation of genre writing that pervades literary communities. And Connie Willis has this a little, and Ursula LeGuin had this a lot, which is the need to not just writer very good science fiction but to pepper it with justifying tropes and not just write good writing. This book has that kind of try-hard self-defeating feel to it.