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To Have and Have Not (Scribner Classics) Hardcover – Deluxe Edition, July 6, 1999
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In Twenty Years: A Novel
When five college roommates gather after twenty years, can the rifts between them be repaired? Learn More
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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 --This text refers to the Paperback edition.
Top Customer Reviews
The third episode, where the real meat of the story is, is the best. It shows the further developments and the conclusion of Morgan's criminal career. It is also where the book's title comes in - here we see the contrast between those who have and those who have not. This comparison makes it easier to understand by contrast just how inevitably Morgan was driven to the life he now leads.Read more ›
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
Not my cup of tea. Guys might enjoy it but the story was sordid and none of the characters were any I'd want to spend any time with. Nevertheless the writing was terrific.Published 22 days ago by Gayle Metcalf
I must have missed something... Some characters were introduced towards the end, and I just didn't understand why.Published 1 month ago by adam pepper
It was a pretty easy read despite the different style of writing. Jumped around a bit. Not wanting to judge Hemingway but it felt like a rough draft to me. Read morePublished 1 month ago by K. Collins
Re-read after 40+ years and I found it even more enjoyable. As one would predict, maturity brings a more informed appreciation of lit, and this book is a perfect example of being... Read morePublished 1 month ago by Bob Kiene
It kept my interest but wasn't one of his finest novels.Published 1 month ago by Thomas F McNamara Jr.
Perhaps I'm a rube, but I found this novel lacking. Sure, it was well written, but it wasn't entertaining. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Jarrod
In my opinion this is one of Hemingway's best works. This book deals with subject matter that was close to Hemingway's heart. It is an easy read from start to finish. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Amazon Customer
Good book...good story. Florida Keys of the old days. You can 'see' Key West and old Havana in Hemingway's writing.Published 2 months ago by CHARLES GEIB