NOTICE: (Updated March 5, 2010)

Beginning December 19, 2009, Books 'N Border Collies will be posting but only intermittently while I pursue personal goals. I plan to share some reading I'm doing, but there will be no reviews. I will, however, be sharing my exploration of vegetarian cooking and the cookbooks and websites I use to educate myself. I hope you enjoy it!


Monday, February 23, 2009


by Ernest Hemingway

"Honest and hard-working fishing boat captain Harry Morgan is forced to begin smuggling liquor between Cuba and Key West, a necessary action if he is to feed his wife and daughters. Unfortunately, his involvement in smuggling ends disastrously and Harry loses more than he ever bargained for. Despite the blows that life hands him, he perseveres, a true testament to the human spirit." (From the CD packaging)

Hemingway is a macho writer. Violence in the form of bar-fights, murders and a little wife-smacking, liberal use of terms like "nigger" and "chink", and other he-man words and deeds all band together in To Have and Have Not. If this kind of thing bothers you, you might want to pass. According to Wikipedia, Hemingway himself was not fond of this book.

This is only my second Hemingway novel, and I was not sure what to make of it at first. The sections seemed oddly disconnected. Then I found out the book is composed of a couple of short stories and a novella written at different times. That explained that! However, according to 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die, this novel is "[a]rguably his most socially committed novel", depicting social inequalities of the times as Hemingway saw them. The juxtaposition of the super rich and the exceedingly poor is almost disorienting. I can't say I loved it. I'm not even sure if I liked it or not, but it did make an impression on me. What sort of impression, good or bad, remains to be seen as my subconscious works on it for a while.


Jo-Jo said...

This sounds very interesting. I love it when you can't decide whether you like a book or not because there are too many things to ponder! I'll be curious to know what your final thoughts are.

Lezlie said...

Jo-Jo ~ Books like this are precisely the reason I don't use a rating system. My feelings can change with time, more familiarity with the author, a sudden insight. Any number of things can cause me to see a book differently than I originally did. This was definitely one to ponder!


Ladytink_534 said...

I believe I tried to read Hemingway before and couldn't do it. He was very difficult and I doubt I'll try again!

Lezlie said...

Ladytink ~ I haven't learned my lesson yet. :-) There are a few more I want to read.


Tasha said...

I'm not sure this is the one I'll start with, but I'd like to give Hemingway a try.

Lezlie said...

Charley ~ Yeah, this one might not be a good representation of his work. I've only read this and A Farewell To Arms, so I can't really say at this point which would be a good "starter". Perhaps a couple of short stories just to get a feel for his writing? Maybe another commenter will have recommendation for you. If I learn anything to assist though, I'll be sure to let you know!


Terri B. said...

I've not read this Hemingway and it does sound like something that will not be for everyone. I was a teen when I read his work, and those works were all short stories. I remember liking "A Clean Well-Lighted Place," but don't remember why I liked it. Maybe I should read another Hemingway and see what I think from a more middle-aged adult viewpoint!

Do you think that those people who don't particularly like his novels might like his short stories?

Lezlie said...

Terri ~ I'm not sure, since I've only read one. I do hear a lot of good things about them though. I may try more of them before I read another of his novels. Worst case scenario, if you don't like the short story, it's only a few pages long! :-)


Susan said...

I did have to read Hemingway - Old Man and the Sea, which I did like, and A Farewell to Arms, which I barely understood and so did not like, in high school. I'm impressed you did, though, and completely understand your ambivalence. I don't think he is an easy author to like.

Teddy Rose said...

Hemingway was okay but not a favorite of mine.

Lezlie said...

Susan & Teddy Rose ~ I think it's the "manliness" in his writing that starts to irritate me. There are a few more I want to read so I can speak with a little more experience on his work, but I don't think he's one for which I'll make the attempt to read all or even a vast majority of his books/stories.