Books: Lost Touch

NOTES FROM A SEA DIARY: HEMINGWAY ALL THE WAY by Nelson Algren. 254 pages. Putnam. $4.95.

The publisher's idea was for Algren to write a meandering essay on Hemingway while taking a freighter trip to Asia, and for him to pad it out with descriptions of Oriental ports. "An essay on Ernest Hemingway was a labor to which I felt compelled," explains Algren. "Everyone else was acting so compulsively, I had to do something compulsive, too, or I wouldn't get invited to any more parties."

Algren feels that Hemingway's honor has been savaged by highbrow critics, who have claimed that Hemingway was merely...

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