I was recommended this book by a friend as a good book to get out of a reading slump with. Due to the fact I read it in a couple of hours I have to agree with this recommendation. This is a classic book that I never managed to read whilst at school. It is definitely on the list of books that I wish I had read earlier in life.
The writing is beautiful and the prose means you are at sea with the old man throughout. The characters are engaging and make you love everyone of them including the fish in the story. The pictures in this book added for me another dimension that I loved.
This is a classic that I urge you to either read for the first time or re-read. A simply amazing novel.
Here, for a change, is a fish tale that actually does honor to the author.The Old Man & the Sea revived Hemingway’s career, which was foundering under the weight of such postwar stinkers as Across the River & into the Trees. It also led directly to his receipt of the 1954 Nobel Prize–an award he 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 with a magnificent marlin encapsulates Hemingway’s favorite motifs of physical & moral challenge. Yet Santiago is too old & 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 & 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 & swung in the light sea as tho 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 & bending & 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 & posed for a triumphal photograph–just as the author delighted in doing, ca. 1935. Instead his prize gets devoured by a school of sharks. Returning with little more than a skeleton, he takes to his bed &, in the last line, cements his identification with his creator: “The old man was dreaming about the lions.” Perhaps there’s some allegory of art & experience floating around in there somewhere–but The Old Man & the Sea was, in any case, the last great catch of Hemingway’s career