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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
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.
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 21 months ago by Rhea Darch
This is definitely not one of Hemingway's better novels. It just dragged on & on.Published on Feb. 23 2004
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 morePublished on March 15 2003 by Omar Siddique
This is the first book I have read where I think my age impacts my ability to appreciate it's depth. Read morePublished on Feb. 9 2003 by Steven D. Ward
According to my thoughts and feelings, I truely believe that this book was really interesting, but yet sort of confusing. Read morePublished on Dec 24 2002
TO HAVE AND HAVE NOT was written during the Great Depression when there was also much revolutionary activity in Cuba. Read morePublished on Nov. 5 2002 by Patrick Doherty
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 morePublished on Aug. 14 2002 by Angry Mofo