The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway

The Old Man and the Sea

It is the story of an old Cuban fisherman and his supreme ordeal: a relentless, agonizing battle with a giant marlin far out in the Gulf Stream. Using the simple, powerful language of a fable, Hemingway takes the timeless themes of courage in the face of defeat and personal triumph won from loss and transforms them into a magnificent twentieth-century classic....

Title:The Old Man and the Sea
Author:
Rating:
ISBN:0684830493
Edition Language:English
Number of Pages:132 pages

The Old Man and the Sea Reviews

  • Madeline

    "There isn't any symbolism. The sea is the sea. The old man is an old man. The boy is a boy and the fish is a fish. The sharks are all sharks no better and no worse. All the symbolism that people say is shit. What goes beyond is what you see beyond when you know."

    -Ernest Hemingway

  • Matt

    Worst book ever.

    Just throw the fucking fish back in. Fuck.

  • Sara

    Oh, my good lord in heaven. Cut your line, land your boat and go to McDonald's! Just as in the case of The Great Gatsby, I understand the book. Yes, I know it changed the way American writers write. I also understand that it celebrates the ridiculous American idea that you're only a REAL man if you've done something entirely purposeless, but really dangerous, in pursuit of making yourself look like the bull with the biggest sexual equipment. Get over it, already! Go home and clean out the refrig

    Oh, my good lord in heaven. Cut your line, land your boat and go to McDonald's! Just as in the case of The Great Gatsby, I understand the book. Yes, I know it changed the way American writers write. I also understand that it celebrates the ridiculous American idea that you're only a REAL man if you've done something entirely purposeless, but really dangerous, in pursuit of making yourself look like the bull with the biggest sexual equipment. Get over it, already! Go home and clean out the refrigerator, or wash the curtains, or vacuum under the furniture. Pick your kids up from school or take your daughter bra shopping. THAT would impress me. Being too dumb to cut your fishing line? Not the mate I would pick...

    The only bright spot about the book is if you think of it on a metaphorical level: there is a point at which ALL of us must grit our teeth and hold on in the face of despair. That is the definition of life. However, if that's the point, then the plot situation needs to be one of necessity (like the shipwreck in Life of Pi), instead of stubbornness.

    ************

    It's been a while since I wrote this review, and there's a lot of amusing speculation in the comments people have attached. I have to say, they crack me up. Here's my final word on reviewing on Goodreads (or anywhere); One of the most important elements of reading is that it allows each of us to react in the way we need to react, without judgment, as we experience the book. This is how I reacted to The Old Man and the Sea. Hemingway is dead, or I wouldn't have been so up-front with my opinion. He's not insulted, I understand that we all need goals in life, and I've been happily married for a LONG time. Now take a deep breath and smile. Life is too short to be anxious about picayune stuff like this.

  • Matt

    I read this as a young man and was disappointed. It didn't work for me. I thought it was about a crazy old man gone off the reservation, picking a fight with an innocent fish while ranting about the New York Yankees ("I would like to take the great DiMaggio fishing. They say his father was a fisherman...").

    I picked it up again, after the passage of some years, and found it incredibly poignant.

    It's a simple story. There's an old man, Santiago, who is a fisherman fallen on hard times. He is cared

    I read this as a young man and was disappointed. It didn't work for me. I thought it was about a crazy old man gone off the reservation, picking a fight with an innocent fish while ranting about the New York Yankees ("I would like to take the great DiMaggio fishing. They say his father was a fisherman...").

    I picked it up again, after the passage of some years, and found it incredibly poignant.

    It's a simple story. There's an old man, Santiago, who is a fisherman fallen on hard times. He is cared for by a young boy, Manolin, who no longer works on his boat. Santiago goes into the Gulf and engages in the fight of his life with a giant marlin. What follows is a dream-like, stream-of-conscious meditation as the old man matches strength and wits with the great fish.

    After 84 days of no fish, Santiago takes his skiff far out to sea. He drops his line and hooks a marlin. He can't pull it in, so he takes hold of the line, beginning the back and forth: when the marlin runs, he gives the line slack; when the marlin is still, he pulls the line in. The old man's hands are cut by the rope. His muscles strain. He has no food or water. Yet he doesn't give up. The obsession has shades of

    , except at the end of this novel, I didn't feel the need to dig up Melville and punch him in the skull:

    Eventually, the marlin is hauled in and killed. The old man attaches him to the boat, and begins to row towards shore. Of course, the marlin is dripping blood, so if you've seen

    or read

    , you can imagine that his dreams of hitting it big with this fish are probably not going to come to pass.

    Age teaches you a lot of things. You start to realize that you might never be the person you thought you'd be as a child. Days go by, you start to lose more and gain less. I thought about this as I thought about the old man, raging like Dylan Thomas against the night; an old man nearing the end of his days fighting against nature, time, death, a fish, able to boil all things down into one climatic struggle on the high seas. At the end, he did not succeed, at least not in the manner he'd foreseen, but he was, in an inimitable way, victorious.

  • Stephen

    My

    time reading

    and I absolutely

    . Sometimes the experience you have with a book can be effected by many things beyond the narrative itself, and I think that is certainly the case here. While I believe I would have loved this story regardless, there is no doubt that the stars aligned themselves perfectly to make this a singularly special read for me.

    Let me explain...

    Last year, I was in Napa with my wife and two of our best friends celebrating my (

    ) 40th birthday

    My

    time reading

    and I absolutely

    . Sometimes the experience you have with a book can be effected by many things beyond the narrative itself, and I think that is certainly the case here. While I believe I would have loved this story regardless, there is no doubt that the stars aligned themselves perfectly to make this a singularly special read for me.

    Let me explain...

    Last year, I was in Napa with my wife and two of our best friends celebrating my (

    ) 40th birthday. It was the latter part of October (near the end of harvest time) and the weather was perfect...

    , it’s Napa.

    We were staying at our favorite Napa sanctuary, the Villagio Inn and Spa.

    Though pricey, Vellagio is just about perfect, it's centrally located, with wonderful rooms, and one of the BEST breakfast spreads in the world...Hey, when you are going out drinking all day, it is important to load up on foodstuffs to avoid alcohol-related trouble. have a nice big breakfast before you go out and drink all day...it is called being

    .

    Speaking of drinking all day, we had just come back from an awesome tour of the

    which is, I shit you not, a real castle in the middle of Napa, California...

    …complete with

    ...and a

    …..yep, a rack, an Iron Maiden and some device that made me constipated just looking at it.

    .

    .

    .

    Anyway, we got back to the room and had a few hours to relax before a late dinner reservation. Well, I don’t sleep all that much and so, while my wife took a nap (light weight that she is), I decided I would find something fairly short to read. I choose this story because it was only 100 pages long (or just under 3 hours via audio) and it seemed to fit my time allotment perfectly.

    So, feeling a little buzzed and in a superb, yet contemplative mood (I had just turned 40 for crying out loud), I poured myself another glass of wine (shut up and don't judge me), went and sat on the balcony outside our room and, with the sun starting to go down, began listening to the audio version of this story.

    Well, this story slammed me and had me sucked in and captive from the very first words:

    By the way, now would be a good time to mention that the audio version I listened to was read by Donald Sutherland, and the marriage of the story with Sutherland’s perfect narration was nothing short of magical. In my opinion it is THE ONLY VERSION of the audio book that should be sold. 



    As many have said (and almost as many have complained), this is in many ways a simple story about an old Cuban fisherman named Santiago, who has had a significant run of bad luck fishing (i.e., 84 days).

    Attempting to change his luck, he decides to take his skiff further out than he has ever gone before, "

    " Eventually, he lands the largest Marlin he's ever seen and the bulk of the narrative details his epic struggle to reel in the fish and get it back to shore. 



    Yes, a simple story and Hemingway uses sparse, straight-forward prose...and devastates with them. The most powerful emotions, passions and struggles that people experience are often tied to the most basic needs and the most elemental aspects of who they are. I felt an immediate connection to the story and was deeply moved by the restrained, yet palpable power of the narrative.

    The most lasting message that I took away from the story was that, despite the many hardships Santiago faces, and the titanic trials that he endures on the open sea, I

    felt that I was supposed to pity or feel sorry for him in any way. Here was a person doing what he loves to do, what gives him purpose in life, and struggling with an iron will to accomplish his goal. The struggle is hard, it is difficult, but it is who he is and what gives him fulfillment in life. All I could feel was giant admiration for this man.

    I found this uplifting and a powerful reaffirmation of what is truly important in life.

    Whether it was the setting I was in, the mood I was in, the wine I was drinking, the wonderful narration or the power of the words themselves, in the end the result was the same. I felt ALIVE, and for that I say thank you “Papa” wherever you are!!! 


    That is basically it, but I wanted to leave you with my favorite line from the story, one that I think encapsulates everything Hemingway set out to accomplish in his tale.

    5.0 stars and one of my “All Time" favorites. HIGHEST POSSIBLE RECOMMENDATION!!


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