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To Have and Have Not [Paperback]

Ernest Hemingway
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (47 customer reviews)
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Book Description

March 20 1996 0684818981 978-0684818986 Reprint
Hemingway's Classic Novel About Smuggling, Intrigue, and Love
To Have and Have Not is the dramatic story of Harry Morgan, an honest man who is forced into running contraband between Cuba and Key West as a means of keeping his crumbling family financially afloat. His adventures lead him into the world of the wealthy and dissipated yachtsmen who throng the region, and involve him in a strange and unlikely love affair.
Harshly realistic, yet with one of the most subtle and moving relationships in the Hemingway oeuvre, To Have and Have Not is literary high adventure at its finest.

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First things first: readers coming to To Have and Have Not after seeing the Bogart/Bacall film should be forewarned that about the only thing the two have in common is the title. The movie concerns a brave fishing-boat captain in World War II-era Martinique who aids the French Resistance, battles the Nazis, and gets the girl in the end. The novel concerns a broke fishing-boat captain who agrees to carry contraband between Cuba and Florida in order to feed his wife and daughters. Of the two, the novel is by far the darker, more complex work.

The first time we meet Harry Morgan, he is sitting in a Havana bar watching a gun battle raging out in the street. After seeing a Cuban get his head blown off with a Luger, Morgan reacts with typical Hemingway understatement: "I took a quick one out of the first bottle I saw open and I couldn't tell you yet what it was. The whole thing made me feel pretty bad." Still feeling bad, Harry heads out in his boat on a charter fishing expedition for which he is later stiffed by the client. With not even enough money to fill his gas tanks, he is forced to agree to smuggle some illegal Chinese for the mysterious Mr. Sing. From there it's just a small step to carrying liquor--a disastrous run that ends when Harry loses an arm and his boat. Once Harry gets mixed up in the brewing Cuban revolution, however, even those losses seem small compared to what's at stake now: his very life.

Hemingway tells most of this story in the third person, but, significantly, he brackets the whole with a section at the beginning told from Harry's perspective and a short, heart-wrenching chapter at the end narrated by his wife, Marie. In between there is adventure, danger, betrayal, and death, but this novel begins and ends with the tough and tender portrait of a man who plays the cards that are dealt him with courage and dignity, long after hope is gone. --Alix Wilber

From Library Journal

It's not often that this column gets to cite something by a truly classic author, but here it is: Hemingway's last work, written after he returned from his 1953 safari and edited by his son, Patrick, in time for this July's centennial celebration. Hemingway even stars in this "fictional memoir," running the safari camp in the absence of friend and lead hunter Pop even as hostile tribes gather to attack. But he still has time to sneak in an affair with an African girl. Along with this work, Scribner will publish three new hardcover editions of Hemingway classics: The Snows of Kilimanjaro and Other Stories (ISBN 0-684-86221-2. $25), Death in the Afternoon (ISBN 0-684-85922-X. $35), and To Have and Have Not (ISBN 0-684-85923-8. $25).
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Not one of Hemingway's best April 12 2004
By Emily
Format:Paperback
This book reminded me of a horrid ride that you couldn't get off. At first it was fun, then gradually, you just want to puke. It's the story of a weak protagonist who spends the book carrying out a pathetic vendetta against authority in general. I was extremely disappointed with this novel since I usually love Hemingway's work. I wouldn't recommend it to anyone, unless you want to read about the same recurring incident over and over.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A wonderful Hemingway tale! Feb. 4 2004
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
I was inspired to read my first Hemingway novel by my upcoming trip to Key West, FL. Since the Hemingway House is on the "must-see" list for Key West tourists, I thought I should familiarize myself with the work of this renowned author. "To Have and Have Not" particularly caught my eye when I saw that it is the story of Harry Morgan, a man who is forced by economic circumstances and family obligations into smuggling contraband between Key West and Cuba. I wasn't disappointed!
This is an amazing story about a many who does what is necessary for the well-being of his family. SURVIVAL is a main theme throughout this novel - Harry Morgan does what is necessary for his family's survival; Marie Morgan also learns to survive when she loses her lover and provider. There is also a vivid contrast made between the "Haves" and "Have Nots" when Hemingway discusses how the wealthy yachtsmen are unable to overcome their petty financial troubles while the struggling and often impoverished Conchs of Key West seem to endure against all odds.
Reading this story has whet my appetite for more Hemingway and I am looking forward to spending time with some of his six-toed cats in Key West :-)!
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4.0 out of 5 stars Beyond the Ink on Paper Oct. 3 2003
Format:Hardcover
Rough. Hard. Dirty. Physical. Tough. And also lyrical, simple, emotional, indelible. All characteristics of Hemingway's writing, all present in this book. A simple story of Harry Morgan, sometime fisherman forced into smuggling and illegal immigration just to feed his family, a man who spirals down the slippery road of 'the end justifying the means' till there is nothing left but survive at any cost.
The story is told as three separate time-segments in Harry's life, which forces a certain disjointedness to the tale. But it also allows Hemingway to illuminate Harry's story with different segments of the Cuban and Key West societies at different times with changing social conditions. There are many character vignettes, people captured sometimes in only a few paragraphs, people who are desperate, silly, egotistical, idealistic, cynical, worn-out, greedy, dissolute, resigned, driven, and just coping. Albert, a man doing relief work for less than subsistence wages, is one of the clearest and most poignant images, hiring on as mate to Henry even though he knows the voyage is supremely dangerous. Within this short portrait of this man, we see not only the extremes that desperation will drive a man to, but also Hemingway's commentary on social/political organizations and economic structures that give rise to such desperation. This was quite typical of Hemingway, as he never beat his reader's over the head with his political philosophy, but showed the underpinnings of his reasoning through the circumstances of his characters.
Throughout this work, there is the sense that there is more here than what the words on the page delineate, a theme of people from all walks of life and all economic circumstances who are caught in the implacability of fate.
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2.0 out of 5 stars Disjointed Sept. 24 2003
Format:Hardcover
Let me preface this by saying that I am not a big Hemingway fan.
I remember a college professor saying that Fitzgerald would agonize over every word of his novels. He would be terribly angered that Hemingway would grab a bottle of whiskey, walk up to his writer's garrett and whip out a novel.
My impression after reading this Heminngway work is that he did just that - grabbed a bottle of whiskey and whipped out a novel. The parts of the books are headed as seasons in Harry Morgan's life and much of the book that is devoted to him is okay. He is Florida Keys boat owner trying to get by with money-making trips - both legal and illegal - between Florida and Cuba. However, especially near the end, there are other characters brought in who have absolutely no relation to the book. The impression the reader gets is that these characters and their descriptioons were sitting on Hemingway's desk and he threw them in as filler. Most annoying were a series of character descriptions of people on yachts in a yacht club when the Coast Guard was towing in a boat - completely useless to the book. A freshman in college may cite them as some examples of class disparity, but I think that is giving too much credit.
Unless you are completely enamored by Hemingway, I'd skip this one. Frankly, if it weren't by Hemingway I doubt it would have ever been reprinted - if printed at all.
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4.0 out of 5 stars The Downward Spiral Into the Abyss Jan. 19 2003
Format:Paperback
What a sad story. I enjoyed the book very much but felt so horribly for the main character Harry Morgan. In Harry Morgan we have a seemingly noble man. Who starts the book as a hard working Fishing Charter Captain. Through a series of unfortunate events Harry loses his work as a fishing boat captain. And goes headlong into the life of a smuggler.
Harry seemingly detests this life in the beginning of the narrative, but is somewhat forced into doing it.
It is amazing to see Harry, a man bound by duty to a life he doesn't want to lead, go down the dark dark path of destruction. The most amazing factor is how Harry appears to lose all his sense of ethics in a heartbeat.
Hemingway discusses one of his favorite themes, duty of man. Harry has the duty of providing for his wife and daughters and will do whatever it takes to provide for them.
Hemingways narrative reads like a series of flashbacks. Each time we see Harry he is in a new place in his decent to the abyss. He gets lower and lower each time. It all reads with a strong sense of predestination. It almost seems Harry is destined to walk this path... even though he wouldn't have chosen it initially. He didn't want to go in this direction. But he finds himself there and will do what he needs to do.
Harry seems so full of integrity at the beginning then begins to do all he can to make this lifestyle work no matter the end result. He seems driven to provide no matter what he has to do. It is almost a Machiavellian story. You have to feel for Harry and his wife. But Harry makes his choices and lives with them.
Read this book. It seems to be one of the darker Hemingway novels but it deifinitely satisfies! A great stroy and a sad story.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars love Hemingway
This book brought me to tears. I'm not sure what else to say. There is something about how this man writes that moves me.
Published 9 months ago by Rhea Darch
2.0 out of 5 stars Not one of his better novels
This is definitely not one of Hemingway's better novels. It just dragged on & on.
Published on Feb. 23 2004
3.0 out of 5 stars Rougher than many of Hemingway's works
I found To Have and Have Not to be the roughest of the Hemingway's works that I have read to date. The narrative is choppy, and the reader never really gets into the protoganist's... Read more
Published on March 15 2003 by Omar Siddique
3.0 out of 5 stars In all fairness, I plan on reading it again.
This is the first book I have read where I think my age impacts my ability to appreciate it's depth. Read more
Published on Feb. 9 2003 by Steven D. Ward
3.0 out of 5 stars Wilson's book report
According to my thoughts and feelings, I truely believe that this book was really interesting, but yet sort of confusing. Read more
Published on Dec 24 2002 by "wilsonphillipbrian"
3.0 out of 5 stars Courageous But Not Very Likeable
TO HAVE AND HAVE NOT was written during the Great Depression when there was also much revolutionary activity in Cuba. Read more
Published on Nov. 5 2002 by Patrick Doherty
4.0 out of 5 stars An excellent book.
To Have And Have Not is too fragmentary to be Hemingway's best novel. It's divided into three episodes, which I think were written at completely different times, so Hemingway's... Read more
Published on Aug. 14 2002 by Angry Mofo
4.0 out of 5 stars Ah, Harry Morgan and Key West in the '30's!
If you want your Caribbean thriller, look no further than right here. Hemingway's descriptions of life in the Florida Keys and along the Gulf Stream will raise the sweat on your... Read more
Published on March 20 2002 by Ian McIntyre
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