The Garden of Eden was the first big project pursued by Ernest Hemingway after a drought that lasted through the early '40s. It's believed that his personal life frustrated his work. He had a new wife, he had developing health issues surrounding his excessive alcohol consumption, and throughout the '40s, many of his artistic colleagues died. The work represented an attempt to be creative again after a season of frustration.
He wrote 800 pages before abandoning The Garden, eventually going on to write some of his most well-known fiction, like The Old Man and the Sea. He also worked on a trilogy about being at sea, but abandoned that project as well. The sixties quickly found a suffering Hemingway, and in '61, Hemingway killed himself by shooting himself with his favorite hunting gun.
Manuscript studies after his death revealed that he never completely abdicated the work, writing nearly 200,000 words in the latest version of the book. A posthumous publication of an abridged version of the book was released to the public in the '80s. The book explores gender roles and relationships set against the backdrop of continental Europe, where Hemingway's fiction often is set.