Four Days with Hemingway’s Ghost by Tom Winton

I was on vacation on one of the Florida Keys (not Key West) and thought, what better book to read here than Four Days with Hemingway’s Ghost. The start of the book was quite amusing and I thought we had real potential with the prospect of hanging out with Hem.

Let me note that this may not be labeled as Christian literature but it had enough references to God, what “the man upstairs” expected, and tests from God that, for me, was a bit of a disappointment. If the description had mentioned the tests of god I wouldn’t have bought this book. Just not my cuppa tea.

Jack Phelen, a forty something lawn maintenance guy, has a serious accident and ends up getting a life-flight ride to a Palm Beach hospital. He remains in a coma for 4 days. Whilst in the coma, he meets Ernest Hemingway. Jack goes off with Hemingway looking at past mistakes and regrets. It had the feel of the movie It’s A Wonderful Life. (No, Jack didn’t see what life would be like without him in the world, but he did revisit his past life experiences.)

Jack is allowed a view into Hemingway’s early life from experiences in Key West, Cuba to his death in Ketchem, Idaho. Then it’s Jack’s turn to revisit his early life and big mistakes he had made along the way.

Interspersed in the story is the threat of god not allowing Jack to return to his life if he doesn’t show potential to become a great writer.

The second part of the book switched gears. Jack returns to the land of living and naturally has trouble making people believe he spent time with Hemingway. Then his life starts falling apart as he loses customers (they must think him mad over his Hemingway experiences), he gets in deeper debt, his wife starts to become distant from him, her hours are cut back at work, more debt….etc., etc.
Jack thinks about buying a gun so he can rob a bank because their bills are getting out of hand.

The last third of the book really didn’t match the theme of the first part of this book. It’s almost as if the writer took a break and came back months later to tie it up. The first part was a bit fun, reading about Hemingway and some of experiences in the Keys and Cuba. But then the tone changed.

Easy read for sure, I was done in a day, just hanging out on the patio reading.

For food…well, I wasn’t overly inspired…….but the Cuban part of the book appealed so, here is a bowl of black beans with sour cream and lime for my contribution!

I am placing this review on Goodreads.

Happy Reading!


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