68 of 77 people found the following review helpful
A remarkable final outburst of genius,
This review is from: The Old Man and The Sea (Paperback)
When Hemingway wrote THE OLD MAN AND THE SEA, he was no longer the writer he had been twenty years earlier. His talent was declining, he had over the past ten years written far more bad books than good ones, and was very much the worse for wear from the hard life he had lived. But somehow, he managed at this late stage in his life to produced one final masterpiece, and one of his very finest novels.
The story is one of Hemingway's simplest. All of his books are simple on the surface. THE SUN ALSO RISES is very simply told, but it contains a wealth of psychological and interpersonal complexity beneath the simple narrative. THE OLD MAN AND THE SEA is truly simple, a story about a simple man, with simple ideas, with a simple life, with a simple, elemental encounter with the natural world: he catches a massive marlin that he battles unsuccessfully to bring to market. It is a tale of success in the midst of failure, of quiet stoicism and courage, and refusing to give in to the challenges the world throws at him. Most of all, it is a story about courage.
The tale that is told is so clearly told that a very young child can understand it. It is so marvelously told that an adult can marvel over it. When my daughter was six, I read this to her, and he loved it (even developing a child's fascination with Joe DiMaggio).
Although the Nobel Prize is given to a writer for his or her work as a whole, and not just one book, it may well be that without this book Hemingway would not have won the Prize. His best work had appeared in the 1920s, and much of his work of the 1930s and virtually all of his work in the 1940s had been far, far below the quality of the early short stories, A FAREWELL TO ARMS, and THE SUN ALSO RISES. THE OLD MAN AND THE SEA was his great comeback, and it is quite likely that it was the book that made the difference in his being chosen as the recipient of the award.
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Showing 1-2 of 2 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Jan 9, 2012 9:22:46 AM PST
Jamie Flower says:
By more bad than good ones do you mean Across the River and Into the Trees, the only Hemingway novel published within 10 years of Old Man and the Sea?
In reply to an earlier post on Jul 6, 2014 6:23:33 AM PDT
Best 'book' Ernie ever wrote. Love his short stories. The most overrated American writer of the 20th century.
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