The Old Man and the Sea

Just a short one, for a short book.

But, thank God, they are not as intelligent as we who kill them; although they are more noble and more able.

This book has defined one of the things I’m doing *when* I win the lottery – going deep sea fishing. It won’t be quite the same battle of the will of man versus the sheer force of nature as depicted in this book, I won’t be going alone against everything that the sea can conspire to throw at me, and I won’t be catching an 18ft Marlin with more or less my bare hands. But it would be good fun, I reckon.

You often hear of these tales of man versus the elements, but this particular short story from 1952 is, in my opinion, probably the finest. Hemingway’s unique writing style is allowed to breathe so spectacularly in the context of this book; his deceptively simple turn of phrase (often imitated, never bested) set against the bleak openess of the vast ocean in which the eponymous old man finds himself gives so much space to read the intent behind his words, the connotations and meanings that he wanted to convey.

Hemingway won the Nobel Prize for Literature shortly after the publication of this book, and whilst it is less than 100 pages long, The Old Man and the Sea manages to encapsulate a mighty epic into those relative few words and it surely contributed to him receiving the award.  As a man, he had a great affection for fishing, hunting and bull-fighting – some sports that would now be considered barbarous by many, or generally frowned up by wider society – but this intimacy with the subject detail, coupled with the aforementioned brilliantly succint writing style, really brings you into the heart of the tale. Recommend this to everyone.


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