The Old Man and The Sea by Ernest Hemingway


I’m sometimes scared to comment on about books like The Old Man and the Sea. Hemingway is iconic and this, one of his most famous novels, is canonical. What could I possibly say about it that hasn’t been said before?

Reading it, one might be surprised at how it has attracted such acclaim, not least a Nobel Prize for Hemingway. The story is not complex. It really does do what it says on the tin: it’s about an old fisherman taking his boat out from Havana to sea, to capture an immense fish. That’s basically it.

I think that it’s the simplicity that sets this novel apart though. It reads like a fable, parable or even a biblical story at times. Perhaps that’s one of the reasons it attracts so many interpretations and engages such a wide audience. It feels fundamental, getting right to the core of human experience.

But literary criticism aside, I’ll just say that I loved it. It made me happy to read something so beautifully written. It is short and perfectly formed- a real exercise in ‘less is more’. A simple, accessible classic that is moving and relatable. Even despite my lack of fishing experience.

Read: On the shore, looking out at the sea

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