This book published in 1923 was EMH’s first published book. The book was only 58 pages and only 300 copies were printed. Robert McAlmon‘s Contact Publishing Company in Paris published the short book that established EMH’s reputation and style. EMH sent a copy to Edmund Wilson and Wilson gave the book a very favorable review.
From Christie’s–Though Three Stories and Ten Poems sold miserably, Hemingway’s efforts did yield one award-winning short story: “My Old Man,” which was included in The Best Short Stories of 1923, edited by Edward J. O’Brien. Hemingway had originally showed O’Brien his “soulful” tale of a boy’s disillusionment with his crooked jockey-father “as a curiosity, as you might…pick up your booted foot and make some joke about it if it had been amputated after a crash.” O’Brien’s reaction was quite the opposite; he found the work exceptional enough to include among the best of the year. O’Brien also asked permission to dedicate the upcoming anthology to Hemingway, who agreed, adding: “And to show you how much I appreciate it I will make a very solemn vow to you and God never to think about any readers but you and God when writing stories all the rest of my life” (Selected Letters, ed. Carlos Baker, p. 103).
From the publisher–To Have and Have Not is the dramatic, brutal story of Harry Morgan, an honest boat owner 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 swarm the region, and involve him in a strange and unlikely love affair.
In this harshly realistic, yet oddly tender and wise novel, Hemingway perceptively delineates the personal struggles of both the “haves” and the “have nots” and creates one of the most subtle and moving portraits of a love affair in his oeuvre. In turn funny and tragic, lively and poetic, remarkable in its emotional impact, To Have and Have Not takes literary high adventure to a new level. As the Times Literary Supplement observed, “Hemingway’s gift for dialogue, for effective understatement, and for communicating such emotions the tough allow themselves, has never been more conspicuous.”