This is my review of The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway.
I got my book as a gift from my brother and his girlfriend. They bought it for me (and my father got the same book) when they were on holiday in Cuba. A very thoughtful gift.
It won the Pulitzer Prize and was cited by the Nobel Committee as contributing to the awarding of the Nobel Prize in Literature to Hemingway.
This novella has a beautiful cover and it is only 84 pages long.
“The Old Man and the Sea is one of Hemingway's most enduring works. Told in language of great simplicity and power, it is the story of an old Cuban fisherman, down on his luck, and his supreme ordeal -- a relentless, agonizing battle with a giant marlin far out in the Gulf Stream.
Here Hemingway recasts, in strikingly contemporary style, the classic theme of courage in the face of defeat, of personal triumph won from loss. Written in 1952, this hugely successful novella confirmed his power and presence in the literary world and played a large part in his winning the 1954 Nobel Prize for Literature.”
This seems to be a very simple story. It was my first time reading it and I will definitely read it again to understand it better.
Santiago is struggling against defeat though he refuses to give in. It’s a novel about respect, courage, determination, will and hardship.
The marlin he catches and Santiago himself are very close in character. Both are unyielding, proud and honorable. Both are not willing to give in to the ultimate defeat; death. Knowing that at some point they’ll die; both are fighting for their lives. Santiago sees in the marlin a worthy opponent.
I did not feel sorry for Santiago as he doesn’t feel sorry for himself. It’s not about pity; it’s about respect for the marlin and Santiago.
This novel makes you think about humanity and your place in the world.
Not a word is misplaced, there’s not a character too much and not one unnecessary scene. With the bare minimum he shapes this astoundingly beautiful novel. The prose is simple, straight-forward, restrained and yet powerful.
I need to reread this novel to write a more thorough review. But this will do for now.