Book Review: The Old Man and the Sea

12 Feb

Back to the Classics Challenge: Classic Novella

Title: The Old Man and the Sea

Author: Ernest Hemingway

I picked this book up on a whim in a shop near my office, attracted only by the fact that it was a small slim volume which would fit neatly into my bag for the train journey home. But I am very glad that I did.

The Old Man and the Sea is an easy read, short and written in a journalistic style (unsurprising given Hemingway’s background) which kept me turning the pages. I finished it in an evening, but although easy to read the prose has many layers so I am sure I could read it again and again and take something new from it every time.

At first glance, this is a book about fishing. An old man fishing off the coast of Cuba has not had a catch in weeks so he goes far out to sea and engages in an epic battle of wills to haul in the biggest fish he has ever caught. It is in equal parts frustrating and inspiring and in the end it is about more than the fish. It is about courage and determination, about not giving up on a goal when things get tough, and about re-evaluating your life as you age. It is because of all these underlying messages that I was unable to put down a book which on the surface is about a man sitting in a boat thinking about baseball for days.

So do not take The Old Man and the Sea at face value, it is so much more than it first appears to be.

Rating: 5/5

Quote: “But, he thought, I keep them with precision. Only I have no luck anymore. But who knows? Maybe today. Every day is a new day. It is better to be lucky. But I would rather be exact. Then when luck comes you are ready.”

Up next: Mort by Terry Pratchett

(This is also one of my entries for the Back to the Classics Challenge, hosted by Karen at Books and Chocolate. This is my entry for the Classic Novella.)

One Response to “Book Review: The Old Man and the Sea”

  1. laura March 11, 2015 at 7:00 am #

    I was just recommending this to someone else who was ‘reading the classics’ as its size makes it a great choice. I loved the strength and the struggle of the old man. Great metaphor for life. And let’s be real… Hemmingway loved fishing!

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