Almost Hemingway relates the life of Negley Farson, adventurer, iconoclast, best-selling writer, foreign correspondent, and raging alcoholic who died in oblivion. Born only a few years before Hemingway, Farson had a life trajectory that paralleled and intersected Hemingway’s in ways that compelled writers to compare them. Unlike Hemingway, however, Farson has been forgotten.
Bowman and Santos [are] both former journalists who know how to tell a story ... owman and Santos sometimes seem to argue that Farson’s reporting and books deserve to be better remembered. But they also realize that journalism is ephemeral, as are journalists themselves. One review said that Farson’s writing lacked the 'interiority' of Hemingway’s prose. That sounded convincing until I realized that I have no idea what that means ... Bowman and Santos question whether his lack of enduring fame would have bothered him. They conclude not. Negley Farson had grabbed his existence as few men ever do—with both hands—and squeezed it for every drop.
Adventurer and foreign correspondent Negley Farson (1890–1960) remains something of a mystery in the bustling debut biography ... Bowman and Santos acknowledge that aspects of Farson’s life remain murky...which unfortunately will leave readers wishing for answers as to what made him tick. But fans of the Lost Generation will be entertained by this rip-roaring account of a larger-than-life character mostly lost to history.