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The Old Man and The Sea Paperback – May 5, 1995
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Intrusion: A Novel
A loving couple, grieving the loss of their son, finds their marriage in free fall when a beautiful, long-lost acquaintance inserts herself into their lives. Learn More
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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
Top Customer Reviews
But I think some of the commentators here have missed some important points. Firstly, Santiago is an Old Man as well as an experienced fisherman. It will be quite absurd to expect such an old experienced fisherman to become over-excited and hyper-sensitive because of some petty wounds or expected struggles with the fish. And as we all know one of the most important quality of a fisherman is to stay calm whether one has been waiting in idle for many hours or one is trying desperately to deal with a struggling fish. I think it is just unjust to expect Santiago to behave in a way that a younger college boy would do to make fun of himself and cheer up the audience in a Hollywood comedy. Anyway, you would not really expect to read some exaggerated sensational treatment of the theme by Hemingway, hear Santiago screaming because a few bloods came out of his slightly hurt right hand, or whine helplessly because the big fish was chopped off bit by bit by the sharks, would you?
Furthermore, some remarked that, despite whatever they have said negatively, they were still inspired by the theme, that if you persist on pursuing something, even if others think you are unlucky as well as incapable to achieve that, at the end of the day you will achieve that very goal.Read more ›
Wow. I mean, really. Wow. With "The Old Man and the Sea," it is so easy to see why Hemingway was awarded the Nobel Prize, and why he deserves all of his accolades. This short novel is fierce, full of vibrant energy and humanity, all the while being a slave to the realities of finite power, of the inability to struggle against something greater than yourself. Of course, this is the standard "man against nature" story, but it is told with such craft that even cliches ring true.
Santiago is a fully-realized character. His strength of will is all that holds together his failing body. The great marlin that he struggles with is like a true fish, lacking personality or anthropomorphism, but just a powerful beast that does not want to die. There is no Moby Dick animosity, and the fish is under the water for the majority of the struggle. All of it, the sharks, the flying fish, the small boat and the ocean, each is what it is, lacking metaphor and saying that life itself is enough. No need to wax poetic.
I never knew a story a little over 120 pages could pack such a punch.
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.
"The Old Man and the Sea" shows an older, wiser Hemingway...and it was somewhat of a surprise to many people when they read it. Readers had been used to stories of barroom brawls...fistfights along the waterfront...battling determined enemies who wanted to kill him....yet this story- a novella- tells of an old fisherman who tries for many days to catch a fish to feed himself....and he has gone weeks without catching anything to bring home....The story is apocryphal and supposedly based on a true account of a Cuban fisherman (Hemingway was living in Cuba at the time) who went out to sea and finally caught a huge fish...but by the time he made it back to shore, the fish had been ravaged by sharks and nearly destroyed...The fish of the news accounts would apparently have been one of the largest sailfish on record- if it had survived intact...Hemingway was intrigued by this account and determined to make the story his own....
Hemingway allows us to see through the old man's eyes....sense his emotions...feel the pain in his hands as he tugs on the fishing line that cuts through his well-worn fingers...The old man senses a camaraderie with the huge fish he has just killed...Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This is the first time I've read The Old Man and the Sea. I really enjoyed it! It definitely has a Moby Dick feel about it, but without all that boring sh*t about whales.Published 2 days ago by Delta Stet
Very nice book the paperback cover was just so smooth and good qualityPublished 4 days ago by Amazon Customer
A classic great that transcends time! A very good read that will stay with you forever!Published 8 days ago by Amazon Customer
My first Hemingway! Loved the detailed descriptions! You could visualize the scene before seeing the illustrations! Such a skill! The illustrations were well done also!Published 9 days ago