48 Following


To Have and Have Not (Scribner Classics)

To Have and Have Not (Scribner Classics) - Ernest Hemingway Like many other reviewers on Goodreads, I bought this book in Key West after visiting Hemingway's house. Despite the bright, semitropical setting, it is a story of despiration. Written in the Great Depression, it shows the plight of a man struggling to feed and house his wife and daughters, and the depths he is willing to go to do so. Protagonist Harry Morgan is kind of a cowboy-type who would rather keep to himself, fishing and drinking on his little boat, but cannot make a go of it. He gets into bootlegging, running guns for Cuban revolutionaries, and smuggling illegal aliens. In the process, he endangers his life repeatedly, and loses his arm, his boat, and much of his hard-earned money. Harry lives the life of a "have not", and his misery is contrasted by the fine boats and easy life of tourist "haves" who pass through his friend's bar each night. For some reason, this book has the reputation of being Hemingway's "worst", but I found the subject matter a lot more meaningful, and the narration delivered with more humility, than Hemingway's more standard fare about bullfighting or shooting animals in Africa.