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The Old Man and The Sea, Book Cover May Vary Paperback – May 5, 1995

4.6 out of 5 stars 11,965 ratings

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Here, for a change, is a fish tale that actually does honor to the author. In fact The Old Man and the Sea revived Ernest Hemingway's career, which was foundering under the weight of such postwar stinkers as Across the River and into the Trees. It also led directly to his receipt of the Nobel Prize in 1954 (an award Hemingway gladly accepted, despite his earlier observation that "no son of a bitch that ever won the Nobel Prize ever wrote anything worth reading afterwards"). A half century later, it's still easy to see why. This tale of an aged Cuban fisherman going head-to-head (or hand-to-fin) with a magnificent marlin encapsulates Hemingway's favorite motifs of physical and moral challenge. Yet Santiago is too old and infirm to partake of the gun-toting machismo that disfigured much of the author's later work: "The brown blotches of the benevolent skin cancer the sun brings from its reflection on the tropic sea were on his cheeks. The blotches ran well down the sides of his face and his hands had the deep-creased scars from handling heavy fish on the cords." Hemingway's style, too, reverts to those superb snapshots of perception that won him his initial fame:
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

Review

“A beautiful tale, awash in the seasalt and sweat, bait and beer of the Havana coast. It tells a fundamental human truth: in a volatile world, from our first breath to our last wish, through triumphs and pitfalls both trivial and profound, what sustains us, ultimately, is hope.”
The Guardian 

“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.”
—Abraham Verghese

"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 
 

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Product details

  • 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
  • Customer Reviews:
    4.6 out of 5 stars 11,965 ratings

Customer reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
4.6 out of 5
11,965 global ratings
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Top reviews from the United States

Reviewed in the United States on November 21, 2016
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Reviewed in the United States on September 28, 2016
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Reviewed in the United States on June 8, 2017
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Reviewed in the United States on March 12, 2020
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5.0 out of 5 stars Short Simple Greatness
By Connor Burnett on March 12, 2020
For a book that you could easily read in just a couple hours, it sure is a classic. You could tell that when Ernest Hemingway wrote this book, that it wasn't meant to be this long story filled with complex emotions like what was going on in A Farewell To Arms or For Whom The Bell Tolls. This book is much more in the vein of his short stories with its simplistic writing. I recommend reading those before you get into this, if you go into this book expecting a fully fleshed out backdrop then you will be disappointed. Other than that, totally worth it.
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7 people found this helpful
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Reviewed in the United States on May 13, 2018
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Reviewed in the United States on September 23, 2017
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Top reviews from other countries

Mrs Nicola Henshaw
1.0 out of 5 stars This book is NOT by Ernest Hemingway...
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on January 17, 2020
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Just Me
1.0 out of 5 stars Don't Bother
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on September 3, 2018
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Atul Kumar Singh
1.0 out of 5 stars Piece of Trash
Reviewed in India on November 1, 2018
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Mr H. J. Win
1.0 out of 5 stars Don't bother with this one
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on March 22, 2021
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14 people found this helpful
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Ur Opinion
5.0 out of 5 stars Love the Book
Reviewed in India on March 2, 2018
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5.0 out of 5 stars Love the Book
Reviewed in India on March 2, 2018
I have read this book several times, and each time I find some new meaning, something deeper than I had noticed before. No writer I know of could reach so far into the hearts of this boy and this old fisherman as Ernest Hemingway. The story speaks to something human that is indescribable, too deep for words.Hemingways magnificent fable is the story of an old man,a young boy and a giant fish.in a perfectly crafted story.Nobel prize for literature is a unique and timeless vision of the beauty and grief of man challenge to the elements in which he lives.
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