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The Old Man and The Sea, Book Cover May Vary Paperback – May 5, 1995
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Just before it was dark, as they passed a great island of Sargasso weed that heaved and swung in the light sea as though the ocean were making love with something under a yellow blanket, his small line was taken by a dolphin. He saw it first when it jumped in the air, true gold in the last of the sun and bending and flapping wildly in the air.If a younger Hemingway had written this novella, Santiago most likely would have towed the enormous fish back to port and posed for a triumphal photograph--just as the author delighted in doing, circa 1935. Instead his prize gets devoured by a school of sharks. Returning with little more than a skeleton, he takes to his bed and, in the very last line, cements his identification with his creator: "The old man was dreaming about the lions." Perhaps there's some allegory of art and experience floating around in there somewhere--but The Old Man and the Sea was, in any case, the last great catch of Hemingway's career. --James Marcus
“His masterpiece... a perfect piece of work.”
—Mario Vargas Llosa
“The old man embodies the ambition and courage it takes to live, and the need to redeem yourself again and again in your own eyes. When at last after ntold agonies you hook the prize, the achievement of a lifetime, the biggest damn fish out there…it falls apart. The story is about the fact that life ends—a hard-to-ignore truth that we spend our days ignoring. All you have is the moment, this moment.”
"Here is the master technician once more at the top of his form, doing superbly what he can do better than anyone else.”
—The New York Times
- Publisher : Scribner; Reissue edition (May 5, 1995)
- Language : English
- Paperback : 128 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0684801221
- ISBN-13 : 978-0684801223
- Lexile measure : 940L
- Item Weight : 4.9 ounces
- Dimensions : 5.25 x 0.3 x 8 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #1,462 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
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Top reviews from the United States
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It is about the love between the 'Old Man' (Santiago) and a young boy, his protege, his apprentice, his beloved companion, and about the boys love for him, too.
And if love is also 'committment,' as it surely is, this, too, is what this book is about...The 'old man's' commitment to break his streak of 84 days without a catch. His willingness to to row way, way, way out, way beyond where any of the other fishermen were toiling...and to do this by himself, alone.
And it's also about his love of (commitment to) fishing and, yes, his love of the 18' marlin (over one thousand pounds) that he caught, and with whom he dialogues throughout this wonderful tale..AND dialogues with him even after he had killed him, and, then, finally his ferocious committment to preserve the fallen fish, now dead, from the sharks that relentlessly tore into its carcass.
This is also a book about nobility, about singleness of purpose, about purity of heart and bravery, endurance, and about friendship....about the love of the 'old man' for the boy, and of the boys love for the 'old man.'
For Hemingway, who wrote 'The Old Man' when he was in his early 50's, this book was, I believe, a plaint, a cry about beauty, and about man at his best, and about good fortune and bad fortune, and about loss and sadness, and, in the end, about emptiness.
This book is a treasure of dialogue...dialogue between the man and the boy that is exquisite, but even more, much more exquisite, about the dialogue between the man and himself, his reveries, and also between the man and his fish, the huge marlin, both when the fish was living and when he was dead.
The Old Man and the Sea is artistry, pure artistry at its greatest, nary a spare word, never complicated...always lucid, aways compressed, transparent, pure. I have read that Hemingway labored over each and every word, each and every phrase, and edited and re-edited it endlessly.
Only 127 pages, it is an easy read that bears periodic rereading...For this review, I have read it twice, and listened to it on tape twice...and I had read it before when I was in college in the late 1950's.
Hemingway died about 9 years after this book was published...In some ways, The Old Man and the Sea can be considered his last and final testament...and what a beauty it is...A true treasure. And, of course, it did win both a Nobel and a Pulitzer...
Finally, I don't want or mean to suggest or imply that this book is 'heavy.' Anything but...It catches perfectly the 'lightness of being' in it's descriptions of the weather, the processes of fishing, and the Old Man's love for baseball and Joe DiMaggio, and his arm wresting with a huge black man in Havana...In short, this book is also fun...
By Connor Burnett on March 12, 2020
But if you give it a chance, what a story! It puts other Man vs Nature stories to shame. Hemingway puts you in the boat with this old man, and watch his fortunes rise and fall, and how he copes with physical and mental pain, alone and far from shore.
For such a short book, by the satisfying end, you leave feeling like the the old man's constant friend, the boy: sympathetic for the old man's struggles, but in complete admiration of his spirit.
Top reviews from other countries
As you can probably tell, I am VERY DISAPPOINTED and will be complaining to Amazon about the extremely misleading appearance of this book on their website.
It was all explained at the end, but only after I'd finished the book: The version I read (on Kindle for 39p) is not the original text, but an interpretation by an Indian company. I'm guessing the book was translated into Hindi and then translated back into English. Which means the whole thing was a colossal waste of time.
Reviewed in India on March 2, 2018