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Friday, February 5, 2010

The Old Man and the Sea

The Old Man and the Sea
by Ernest Hemingway
audiobook: 2.75 hours



*** About the Book ***

An old Cuban fisherman has been on a long unlucky streak; he's gone 84 days without catching a marlin. After 40 days without a catch, his young helper was forced to go to another boat and the old man had to fish alone. On the 85th day the old man's luck returns and he hooks the largest marlin he's ever seen, larger even than his little boat. The man struggles against the fish for three days - will he succeed in hauling it in? If he does, how will he get it back to shore? Will it be the fish or the man (or both) who loses a life?


*** Why I Read It ***

I've had this book on my TBR list for years. A while back I got a copy from the library, read a few pages, and promptly lost the book; it never turned up. I didn't think I'd really enjoy Hemingway but I knew this was a classic story and that I'd have to give it a shot. When I noticed it was available on audio at the library I decided now was the time. Plus I found out that it counts toward the 1% Well Read Challenge.


*** My Thoughts ***

Can I tell you how much I LOVED this story?! It was ... um ... amazing? heart-wrenching? beautiful? incredible? I can't decide how to describe it, I just know that I loved it.

I'm sure you are wondering what it is that is so great about this book. I loved the way the old man talked to himself, had conversations between his spoken word and his thoughts, while he was out at sea alone. I loved the physical contest between the old man and the marlin, and the respect the old man had for the fish and the ocean. I loved the way the story unfolded, even though I can't tell you more because it would spoil it for you. I loved the simple yet powerful language Hemingway used. And I even loved Frank Muller's narration (even though I disliked his work in the past); his storytelling style was different than I'd heard him use previously and it worked very well here.


*** Your Thoughts ***

Are you a Hemingway fan? If so, tell me if this story is like any of his other works. Which ones should I try out next? If you are not a fan, I'd love to know why not.

If you'd like more opinions on this book check out these reviews:

17 comments:

mynovelreviews said...

Ah- This takes me back to highschool - I loved this stroy - the whole "destroyed but not defeated" thing.

I definitely should read more Hemingway.

Amateur Reader said...

I wouldn't call myself a fan, exactly, but I share your admiration for The Old Man and the Sea.

It's a lot like his other work in some ways. But the novels inevitably sprawl more and, to my mind, have more bad or irritating ideas. If you want to recapture some of the same feeling as in the fish book, I predict you will be most likely to find it in the short stories, the Nick Adams stories, for example.

I'll bet, with the right reader / actor, some of those stories are extremely effective as audiobooks.

Nicole (Linus's Blanket) said...

I read Hemingway when I was younger and was not a fan, but recently I listened to The Snows of Kilimanjaro and really liked it. I might be at the point where I can better appreciate him so I might give this one a try since you loved it so much.

Serena said...

The Old Man in the Sea is my favorite of Hemingway's writing. I just got so swept up in it. Did you know it won him the Pulitzer prize?

I haven't read many of his other works, but I will go with Nicole on this one -- read The Snows of Kilimanjaro!

The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber is not bad either, though it is a short story.

For Whom the Bell Tolls, A Moveable Feast, The Sun Also Rises, and A Farewell to Arms are still on my TBR list.

Amanda said...

I thought this one was just ok. I tried reading it for the 24 hour readathon, bad choice. You can't rush through this one.

I LOVE For Whom the Bell Tolls. On of my favorite books actually. A Farewell to Arms is good but not that good. Try For Whom the Bell Tolls. Set in Revolutionary Spain.

Erika Robuck said...

Ahhh, my favorite.

I love all Hemingway, but A Movable Feast is my recommendation. It perfectly captures the pulse of his peers, "The Lost Generation." It's the book that made me fall in love with him.

Plays with Needles said...

Sooo glad you chose to read this one! It IS indeed a great story with so much to offer on multiple levels...

Alyce said...

I still remember a line from the beginning of the book - something about benevolent skin cancer (I'm pretty sure it was this book). I haven't read it since high school though. I thought that it had a very poignant ending.

Laura said...

I have to comment, because I love Hemingway's style of writing, but I read almost all his novels and short stories when I was young (teens to 20's) and I haven't re-read them (I'm now 48).

I do assign The Old Man and the Sea and The Sun Also Rises or A Farewell to Arms to each of my children when thy are in high school (we home school). They usually love The Old Man and the Sea, but prefer F. Scott Fitzgerald's style of writing over Hemingway's.

hopeinbrazil said...

Thanks for a great review. I'm definitely moving this one up closer to the top of my TBR list.

softdrink said...

I fell in love with his writing when I read An Immoveable Feast. I haven't read any other Hemingway, but I do have A Farewell to Arms sitting on the shelf.

Beth F said...

I too loved this Hemingway -- it was my gateway drug er, book.

Heather J. said...

Thanks everyone for all the reading suggestions! I'm definitely going to read/listen to more Hemingway and you've given me some great books to try out. :)

Kailana said...

I feel like the odd one out, but this is one book I never learned to appreciate...

Michelle (my books. my life.) said...

Love this book and love Hemingway. My favorite's of his are A Moveable Feast, The Sun Also Rises, and A Farewell to Arms. Only one I haven't cared for was For Whom the Bell Tolls. His short stories are amazing as well.

Rebecca Reid said...

I didn't enjoy reading a dozen of Hemingway's stories but I loved this little novella. I felt it was so relevant for all of us. I am glad you liked it too.

Robizzle. said...

The book may start out kind of slow but it quickly picks up. I like all of the little insights and details that reveals who Santiago is as a character. How he never puts up a photo of his wife because he misses her just shows how vulnerable he really is as a person.

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