Wednesday, March 30, 2011

To Have or Have Not review

Full disclosure: To Have and Have Not became a did not finish for me.

I was about 50 pages before the end of the book, pretty well on track, but story-wise I suddenly ran into a brick wall, and it couldn't be done. Have you ever had that happen?

I wasn't exactly enjoying the book before that, but it was readable enough, and I wanted to get it done in time for my review today for but all of a sudden, it took a turn that I didn't understand. I don't mind unexpected turns in books. In fact, I like them a lot. But when it's a turn I don't understand, then I lose my way a  bit. Well, more than a bit, here.

Ever since I read A Moveable Feast - and loved it - I've been wanting to read Hemingway's novels.

Having battled my way through two thirds of To Have and Have Not, now I'm not so sure.

Anyway. Harry Morgan is a boat captain who runs smuggled goods between Cuba and the United States. As the book opens, he's just turned down a job of smuggling people rather than goods. As he finishes his meal in the cafe they met, the men who wanted to hire him are gunned down in the street.

From there ... okay, To Have and Have Not is probably one of the most disjointed novels I've read. Or two-thirds read. It jumps around points of view, from first person Harry, to third person Harry, to third person other characters, back to Harry ...

Apparently Hemingway revised the novel several times, and it's easy to see in its choppy narrative and barely-there plot.

The lost generation could, perhaps have not found this one again. ;)


Jenny said...

Meh. I felt this same way about the one of Hemingway's novels I read, The Sun Also Rises. Choppy, and I hated all the characters. But I am content to hate Hemingway so that's fine.

Rebecca Reid said...

I liked THE OLD MAN AND THE SEA very much and FOR WHOM THE BELL TOLLS. But I've also disliked other Hemingway books strongly -- like THE SUN ALSO RISES, which Jenny mentions. I think Hemingway may be a hit or miss author for most readers...sorry this one was a miss for you.