Updated: Jan 6, 2019
Caution: NOT SUITABLE FOR VEGANS
Now, I'm not a vegan or a vegetarian or anything, but even I found this book a little squeamish. There was a helluva lot of raw fish & dolphin eating, also lots of shark killings in this book. You've been warned.
I've always wanted to read a Hemingway book, I had actually read this in high school back in the day but I literary had no idea what it was about. It was totally lost on me. I was too busy having fun- ah good times. But having read it again, and a lot later in life, I've come to appreciate the story itself more than I did back then.
The old man and the sea is about an old man named Santiago, a young boy, and a ginormous fish and it's set in Cuba. Santiago is a fisherman, it's all he's ever known and in the story he has a terribly unlucky streak that lasts for 84 days. It's so bad that the young boy's parents ban him from fishing with the old man, and instead he gets told to fish with some of the other more successful fishermen. The boy still helps the old man with his daily duties of loading up the boat and helping the old man when he can. Hoping to beat his unlucky streak, Santiago sets off to the Gulf Stream hoping his luck will change. Eventually, he manages to catch this huge fish and for two whole days he holds on to the line and hopes to capture and kill the fish.
The old man comes to really respect this wise and strong fish and how relentless it was. He even refers to the fish at times as his 'brother', which shows how highly he thinks of this fish. It then becomes this battle against time to try and make it back to land after eventually killing the big fish. He gives this journey all his will power & energy as it may be the last ever fishing trip he will do in his life. Santiago begins to reflect on his own life & how he has always been one with nature, he very much admires the sea and refers to it as a woman, which I found interesting as a concept.
'...the old man always thought of her as feminine and as something that gave or withheld great favours, and if she did wild or wicked things it was because she could not help them. The moon affects her as it does a woman, he thought.'
Part of him also wants his life to end with dignity and to be respected in his fishing community which drives him to make it home with what remains of the big fish.
It's a great story and Hemingway wrote it in the most beautiful and simple way. This book is only 127 pages long but he really knows how to word each and every sentence in the most creative descriptive manner. I could totally imagine myself on that boat with that old man the whole time. It's written very vividly and is bold too. The only reason I didn't give this story a 9 or 10/10 was because of the sharks! I'm seriously terrified of them and it felt like I was watching jaws or something at times (never watched it btw). Freaked me out. Literary my worst nightmare.
I also liked the fact that the book is one continuous story. So odd to read a book without chapters, I liked it. Hemingway is an amazing story teller, that's a no brainier, so if your in the mood for a short, bold and great story then definitely add this to your reading list. It's a better read the 2nd or 3rd time around. Also I learned so much about boats!! Haha I grew up in the city so it's not like I 'took my boat out on the weekends' or anything, so I learned (or I should say googled) some new words like 'Skiff', 'Mast', 'Gaff', 'Oar', 'Harpoon'. So great!
Shout out to my Scottish bud Ross for lending me this novel from his personal library, you've got great taste bro. Enjoyable & thrilling read.
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