The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway

Challenge #8 ~ “A classic book with fewer than 200 pages.”

oldmanandthesea

★ ★ ★ ★ ☆

This is one of those books that I never know quite how to comment on. I did enjoy it, but it’s one of those that I wouldn’t read again. The book as a whole is a piece of beauty – a character exploration that spans the pages with insightful comments and vivid language – but as such, there is no real plot. Well, there’s a plot, but it’s pretty simple and obvious. At places too I felt as if Hemingway was dragging out the novel a little too far (how long, for example, did it take post-catch to make it back to shore?)

The ending, for me, was also rather disappointing. After the entire struggle, told incredibly by Hemingway, the fish was gone, the old man had nothing but a carcass, and seemingly careless just went to bed. This, I would argue, is the only discrepancy I can find in the old man’s character, but it does live a little bit of a bitter taste in the reader’s mouth as they finish the book. Nevertheless, as a whole book, it conjured the scene perfectly and is a prime example of a stunning character exploration. Writing in its simplicity, I’d say it is best to read just once.

Recommended for fans of:

  • Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck
  • The Child’s Elephant by Rachel Campbell-Johnston
  • The Lord of the Flies by William Golding
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