To Have and Have Not Paperback – Mar 20 1996
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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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Top Customer Reviews
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 :-)!
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.Read more ›
Most recent customer reviews
After watching the movie numerous times, I have to congratulate the screenwriters cause it's waaaay better than the book.Published 2 months ago by jimmy
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 on Jan. 3 2014 by Rhea Darch
This is definitely not one of Hemingway's better novels. It just dragged on & on.Published on Feb. 23 2004
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. Read more
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
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. Read morePublished on Jan. 19 2003 by T. Thompson