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To Have and Have Not (Scribner Classics) by…

To Have and Have Not (Scribner Classics) (original 1937; edition 1999)

by Ernest Hemingway

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3,531652,756 (3.44)138
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.… (more)
Title:To Have and Have Not (Scribner Classics)
Authors:Ernest Hemingway
Info:Scribner (1999), Hardcover, 176 pages
Collections:Your library

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To Have and Have Not by Ernest Hemingway (1937)


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English (59)  Dutch (2)  Swedish (1)  Spanish (1)  Hebrew (1)  German (1)  All languages (65)
Showing 1-5 of 59 (next | show all)
Why is Hemingway regarded so highly? I don't think I'll ever understand it, and I'll never waste my time with any more of this crap.

Yes, part of it is because the novel is of its time (somewhat), so it's filled with—and I'm quoting here—niggers, chinks, Jewesses, and any other crap white authors threw in their novels back then.

But that's not all. Between the covers of this thin book with very little story, it's also filled with manly men who may have lost an arm, but hey, they still have their two balls. They fight and kill easily, they drink whisky, they slap their women around, and they have affairs, because it's "in their nature." They also contemplate suicide occasionally.

The women are there to lust over their own men, or other women's men. They just want to be loved, and they pine for the days when they were more beautiful. They either mourn not having children, or admit they don't like the ones they have. They love brushing their hair.

And everyone—everyone—talks in circles, and says the same few words over and over and over and over. Don't believe me? Here's two paragraphs from a throw-away character toward the end of the book...

I suppose it would be better to take some luminol, Dorothy thought. I must get some sleep. Poor Eddie’s tight as a tick. It means so much to him and he’s so nice, but he gets so tight he goes right off to sleep. He’s so sweet. Of course if I married him he’d be off with someone else, I suppose. He is sweet, though. Poor darling, he’s so tight. I hope he won’t feel miserable in the morning. I must go and set this wave and get some sleep. It looks like the devil. I do want to look lovely for him. He is sweet. I wish I’d brought a maid. I couldn’t though. Not even Bates. I wonder how poor John is. Oh, he’s sweet too. I hope he’s better. His poor liver. I wish I were there to look after him. I might go and get some sleep so I won’t look a fright tomorrow. Eddie is sweet. So’s John and his poor liver. Oh, his poor liver. Eddie is sweet. I wish he hadn’t gotten so tight. He’s so big and jolly and marvellous and all. Perhaps he won’t get so tight tomorrow.

She went below and found her way to her cabin, and sitting before the mirror commenced brushing her hair a hundred strokes. She smiled at herself in the mirror as the long bristled brush swept through her lovely hair. Eddie is sweet. Yes, he is. I wish he hadn’t gotten so tight. Men all have something that way. Look at John’s liver. Of course you can’t look at it. It must look dreadful really. I’m glad you can’t see it. Nothing about a man’s really ugly though. It’s funny how they think it is though. I suppose a liver though. Or kidneys. Kidneys en brochette. How many kidneys are there? There’s two of nearly everything except stomach and heart. And brain of course. There. That’s a hundred strokes. I love to brush my hair. It’s almost the only thing you do that’s good for you that’s fun. I mean by your- self. Oh, Eddie is sweet. Suppose I just went in there. No, he is too tight. Poor boy. I’ll take the luminol.

Seven mentions of "tight".
Eight mentions of "sweet" (seven for Eddie, one for John).

That's not counting all of the other drivel the author Hemingways at us. And all of this isn't just from poor shallow Dorothy above. She only gets about four or five paragraphs in the entire novel. But every character either thinks or talks like this.

And then there's the plot. It's not bad toward the beginning. Yes, the dialogue and repetition is a little off-putting, but overall, it's not horrible. But then our main character (spoiler alert), kills a "chink" because, well, that crazy chink was just too easy to deal with. So, he must have needed killing.

Then the story starts to head off the rails. In what possibly could have been the best part of the book, Morgan is double-crossed by some Cubans, but we miss all that, we only get the aftermath. And more whinging from Morgan.

Then we're treated to a couple of other characters who literally have nothing to do with Morgan's story whatsoever, yet here we are, watching a wife lust over Morgan right in front of her husband, but later getting pissed when he screws around on her. Marriage over.

Then, we get to see into the lives of a few others for no reason other than...well...Hemingway. Then we finally get an end to this whole sorry, sad state of affairs. Through it all, I just kept asking myself, why the hell is everyone so freaking stupid in this world? Every decision made, every action taken...all of it. Dumb.

What a goddamn mess.

Seriously, why is Hemingway so highly regarded? ( )
  TobinElliott | Sep 3, 2021 |
Saw the movie, had to read the book! The first 4 plus chapters of this book (through page 45 in my edition) are the short story "One Trip Across", which I had read in a Hemingway short story collection. Chapters 6-8 are the short story “"The Tradesman's Return", which I had also previously read.
So for me, the new material began with Part Three (chapter 9 on), which begins with Harry Morgan having lost an arm and his boat. Then, he decides to take on another dangerous assignment by trafficking four Cubans. His luck, such as it is, remains the same...

I liked this book, when it was about Harry Morgan. When he is not present in the storyline, I found it boring and tedious. And there was a big chunk of a storyline toward the end where he was not involved. Cut those chapters out, or just skip reading them, and this would have been one heck of a book! ( )
  Stahl-Ricco | Aug 26, 2021 |
To Have and Have Not may be America's Depression Era equivalent of Dickens's A Tale of Two Cities. It was the best of times and it was the worst of times for those Americans at opposite ends of the economic spectrum. The Haves were the rich and idle vacationers in the Florida Keys, those with mansions and yachts, latter-day Rober Barons, partygoers. The Have Nots was the native Conchs, the Vets who drank themselves to oblivion at bars like Freddy's while getting into incessant fights with one another, the laborers of the Great Works program who worked for starvation wages. And then there is Harry Morgan - somewhere in between those extremes, possessing, at least in the beginning, both a house and a boat, but nevertheless desperate to keep it all together to feed his family. Morgan is the book's main character, though one could hardly call him the protagonist because he disappears from the narrative for long stretches (most likely because this novel was knit together from a collection of short stories). He epitomizes the novel's title, as a string of bad luck slowly demonstrates how one can possess, and be dispossessed, in rapid succession. And so this novel shows over and over again: marriages that are and then are not, lives that end in an instant, wealth that is accumulated over a lifetime at risk of being taken away by forces beyond one's control, love that is strong at one point that ends in disappointment and hatred, sexual desire that wanes. This book is ultimately at some level about the ephemeral nature of everything. ( )
  OccassionalRead | Jun 3, 2021 |
I pleasurably read this book up until part three. The first two parts read like a beatific adventure tale with all the hooks and lines expected of such, it was the third part that was a sinker. I've only read Hemingway's A Moveable Feast, which I thoroughly enjoyed. This, however, was a bit loose on a thread. The pensive ending felt like a narrative filler, I think in the hands of a direct and understated style, it kind of flops. I'm not one to uphold a piece of writing just because surrounding works of an author have been acclaimed, and To Have And Have Not may very well be an acclaimed work, I don't know, but what I do know is that in the range of similar novels of its time, for me it doesn't stand up as being particularly well written. I should have approached it as a few short stories rather than a singular narrative, as this was its origins. ( )
  RupertOwen | Apr 27, 2021 |
Much like the incoherent mumblings of Harry Morgan after being mortally shot in the gut, this novel is complete gibberish by the end.

It started out fine, but it just ended up all over the place. Perhaps that's a side effect of having been published in pieces. Maybe Hemingway was just having a bad run at the moment.

Still can't give it less than two stars. Disappointing? Yes. The worst of Hemingway's works that I have read to date? Also yes. But there are a few parts where the prose is compelling and vivid. ( )
  CrimsonWurm | Apr 11, 2021 |
Showing 1-5 of 59 (next | show all)
". . . a turbulent, searching story of Key West and Havana in these strange years of grace. . . . stronger than 'The Sun Also Rises,' not as good as 'A Farewell to Arms' . . ."
added by GYKM | editNew York Times, Charles G. Poore (Oct 15, 1937)

» Add other authors (55 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Hemingway, Ernestprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Ferrata, GiansiroEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Koning, DavidTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Low, WilliamCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Monicelli, GiorgioTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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You know how it is there early in the morning in Havana with the bums still asleep against the walls of the buildings; before even the ice wagons come by with ice for the bars?
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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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.

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