Liked It2 of 2 members found this review helpful
“Howard Hawks, the director of the film version of “To Have and Have Not” (which bears little to no resemblance to the novel but does have the compensation of a steamy Bogie and Bacall), said that Hemingway told him the novel was “a bunch of junk.” So why do I like it so much? Well, first and...”see full review » see other reviews »
Didn’t Like It1 of 1 members found this review helpful
“I have always had a problem with Hemingway - but this started well, lots of understandable action with a direct talk to the reader style - but then he moved it on and introduced characters whom for me had no relevance to the story and gradually I lost the plot.........did he write it in sections...”see full review » see other reviews »
“quit about two-thirds through. boring”joe g. wrote this review 10 days ago. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“Apart from THE OLD MAN AND THE SEA, this is in my opinion one of Hemingway's best works, particularly in evoking genuine sights, sounds, and experiences of the subtropics. To a Florida native, it stands out for its realism and its crisp writing.”DL Conner wrote this review Thursday, April 11, 2013. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“To Have and Have Not is a short but wonderful example of Hemingway's trademark style--spare, understated, and powerfully simple. In addition, I was surprised to find within it a pointed social commentary and criticism of the darker side of the American dream.
For that's what the story is, really--a sort of "Grapes of Wrath" or "Death of a Salesman" indictment of American social inequalities that existed and still exist between the Haves and the Have-Nots. The struggle for success is personified in the character of Harry Morgan, a resident of Key West who, after a fairly profitable stint as a fisherman, must resort to smuggling and rough dealings in an attempt to make ends meet for his wife and three young girls. Things go from bad to worse, and by the novel's tragic end, we have been given an insightful glimpse into both the corrupt and petty lives of the "Haves", and the hardscrabble, desperate lives of the "Have-Nots" like Harry.
This is apparently the only Hemingway novel based in the United States, and after reading it, I can see why the film of the same name departs so radically from Hemingway's original story; a story so full of uncomfortable truths about American political corruption, the often disgusting lives of the rich, and the plight of the common man. Speaking about one particularly unscrupulous "Have", he remarks:
He would not need to worry about what he had done to other people, nor what had happened to them due to him, nor how they'd ended; who'd moved from houses on the Lake Shore drive to taking boarders out in Austin, whose debutante daughters now were dentists' assistants when they had a job; who ended up a night watchman at sixty-three after that last corner; who shot himself early one morning before breakfast and which one of his children found him, and what the mess looked like; who now rode on the L to work, when there was work, from Berwyn, trying to sell, first, bonds; then motor cars; then house-to-house novelties and specialties (we don't want no peddlers, get out of here, the door slammed in his face) until he varied the leaning drop his father made from forty-two floors up, with no rush of plumes as when an eagle falls, to a step forward onto the third rail in front of the Aurora-Elgin train, his overcoat pocket full of unsaleable combination eggbeaters and fruit juice extracters. Just let me demonstrate it, madame. You attach it here, screw down on this little gadget here. Now watch. No, I don't want it. Just try one. I don't want it. Get out. [...]
Some made the long drop from the apartment or the office window; some took it quietly in two-car garages with the motor running; some used the native tradition of the Colt or the Smith and Wesson; those well constructed implements that end insomnia, terminate remorse, cure cancer, avoid bankruptcy, and blast an exit from intolerable positions by the pressure of a finger; those admirable American instruments so easily carried, so sure of effect, so well designed to end the American dream when it becomes a nightmare, their only drawback the mess they leave for relatives to clean up.
The men he broke made all these various exits but that never worried him. Somebody had to lose and only suckers worry.
It's hard to top this combination of Hemingway's spare prose and such a hard-hitting message about social inequality. It seems to me that this book ought to be far more widely read than it is, for it's a memorable story and one that has much to say to the modern reader. Rated 4.5 stars out of 5.”
“Didn't get really into it until the end. I really want to like Hemingway, but something always outs me off. ”Alexis Marley wrote this review Tuesday, February 19, 2013. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“Not my favorite Hemingway novel. Parts of the book seem like they should have been edited out or expanded as they just seem to hang in the air.”Vandy Fan wrote this review Thursday, January 24, 2013. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“Different from the movie. I liked the movie better but I did like it. Much darker, more violent, less heroic. Follows Harry Morgan's life for a year”Sheila G wrote this review Tuesday, January 22, 2013. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“Avere e non avere (Italian Edition)”Alessandra Forno wrote this review Tuesday, January 22, 2013. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“To Have and Have Not Ernest Hemingway
****warning as this is short story there is not much I can without spoilers******
This is a shortish story about a fisherman Harry Morgan, Harry lives in Key West Florida during the Great Depression. Struggling to prevent his family starving Harry is taken in by a conman who ends up costing him hundreds of dollars when he does a runner without paying Harry.
Facing ruin Harry is forced into a life of illegal activity a life from which escape seems impossible.
Hemingways written detail is sparse and to my mind while I could follow that facing ruin leads Harry straight into act A I found it hard to believe that it also lead straight into act B as well, for me act B would take a lot of consideration for the seemingly law abiding family man Harry rather than the way he appeared to jump straight into it.
For me there is more going on off the page than there is on the page which leaves the reader reasoning their own way through Harrys actions and decisions.
There is also a social comment about life at the time as seen through several minor characters, smuggling between Cuba and Florida, drunkeness, despair, prostitution, unfaithfulness and violence are products of the depression and occur when people cannot earn enough to support themselves at the most basic level.
While the starkness of life for the characters reminded me of Steinbecks writings I just didnt find the enjoyment in this that I do with Steinbeck I couldnt connect with them the way I connect with Steinbecks characters both good and bad.
For me this was an interesting but unemotional read”
“I've never read Hemingway before so at first I was put off by his dry, to the point approach to writing. It was decent. An easy read.”ThortsMagorts wrote this review Monday, May 21, 2012. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“I have always had a problem with Hemingway - but this started well, lots of understandable action with a direct talk to the reader style - but then he moved it on and introduced characters whom for me had no relevance to the story and gradually I lost the plot.........did he write it in sections between drinking bouts? Perhaps I should have read it under the influence. Sorry but EH remains for me overated.”rob i wrote this review Sunday, May 20, 2012. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No