Set in northern Michigan in the mid-1920s The Torrents of Spring is about two World War I veterans, Yogi Johnson and writer Scripps O'Neill, both of whom work at a pump factory. O'Neill's wife Diana tries to impress her husband by reading books from the lists of the The New York Times Book Reviews but he leaves her for a waitress. Johnson, who became depressed after a Parisian prostitute leaves him for a British officer, falls in love with a native American woman who enters a restaurant clothed only in mocassins.
Hemingway received a mixed reaction to the novella that was sharply critical of other writers. His wife Hadley believed the characterization of Anderson was "nasty"; Dos Passos considered it funny but didn't want to see it published; while Fitzgerald considered the novella a masterpiece. The Torrents of Spring has little scholarly criticism as it is considered a to be of less importance than Hemingway's subsequent work.