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The Old Man and the Sea

3.76  ·  Rating details ·  735,444 ratings  ·  22,019 reviews
The last novel Ernest Hemingway saw published, The Old Man and the Sea has proved itself to be one of the enduring works of American fiction. It is the story of an old Cuban fisherman and his supreme ordeal: a relentless, agonizing battle with a giant marlin far out in the Gulf Stream. Using the simple, powerful language of a fable, Hemingway takes the timeless themes of cour ...more
Kindle Edition, 128 pages
Published July 25th 2002 by Scribner (first published September 1952)
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Marilyn There are so many great kids' books! What is wrong with a kid reading kids' books? Save this one for later when he can understand the depth of the…moreThere are so many great kids' books! What is wrong with a kid reading kids' books? Save this one for later when he can understand the depth of the book.

Shiloh by Naylor
Rabbit Hill by Lawson
Ralph S Mouse by Cleary
The Hobbit by Tolkien
Chronicles of Narnia
The Phantom Tollbooth by Juster
There are 2 Dr. Dolittle books by Lofting
anything by Roald Dahl
Dragon Rider by Funke
Peter Pan by Barrie
The Cricket in Times Square and others by George Selden
anything by Marguerite Henry
The Jungle Book and Just So Stories both by Kipling
Mary Poppins 4 books by Travers
Hoot by Hiaasen
Swiss Family Robinson by Wyss
Farmer Boy by Laura Ingalls Wilder
Lad A Dog by Terhune
Lassie
Rascal (it's about a raccoon) by North

There is a great series about a pig named Freddy who has all sorts of adventures. Walter Brooks wrote his series in the 1950's. IF you can find any of them they are wonderful. Freddy becomes a detective, he writes a newspaper, he goes to school and plays baseball. He travels to Florida and also to the North Pole.
(less)
SURYA Exact purpose/message : 'Man can be destroyed, but not defeated'. [This book has this great line/message.

Also read the lst line of this…more
Exact purpose/message : 'Man can be destroyed, but not defeated'. [This book has this great line/message.

Also read the lst line of this book----dreaming about roaring lions----implies undefeated mind ready for glorious adventure in life!. (less)

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Average rating 3.76  · 
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 ·  735,444 ratings  ·  22,019 reviews


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Matt
Nov 28, 2007 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: mermaids
Worst book ever.

Just throw the fucking fish back in. Fuck.
Sara
Apr 22, 2008 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: anyone-fiction
Oh, my good lord in heaven. Cut your line, land your boat and go to McDonald's! Just as in the case of The Great Gatsby, I understand the book. Yes, I know it changed the way American writers write. I also understand that it celebrates the ridiculous American idea that you're only a REAL man if you've done something entirely purposeless, but really dangerous, in pursuit of making yourself look like the bull with the biggest sexual equipment. Get over it, already! Go home and clean out the refrig ...more
Matt
Jan 07, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classic-novels
I read this as a young man and was disappointed. It didn't work for me. I thought it was about a crazy old man gone off the reservation, picking a fight with an innocent fish while ranting about the New York Yankees ("I would like to take the great DiMaggio fishing. They say his father was a fisherman...").

I picked it up again, after the passage of some years, and found it incredibly poignant.

It's a simple story. There's an old man, Santiago, who is a fisherman fallen on hard times.
...more
Stephen
hemingway-1-1 v2

My very first time reading Papa and I absolutely LOVED IT. Sometimes the experience you have with a book can be effected by many things beyond the narrative itself, and I think that is certainly the case here. While I believe I would have loved this story regardless, there is no doubt that the stars aligned themselves perfectly to make this a singularly special read for me.

Let me explain...

Last year, I was in Napa with my wife and two of our best friends celebrating my (oh shit!!) 40th birthday. It was the latter part of October (nea(oh
...more
Madeline
"There isn't any symbolism. The sea is the sea. The old man is an old man. The boy is a boy and the fish is a fish. The sharks are all sharks no better and no worse. All the symbolism that people say is shit. What goes beyond is what you see beyond when you know."

-Ernest Hemingway
Will Byrnes
It is intimidating to offer a truly critical look at such a classic, so we will ease into it with a few images.

The GOP has offered us a ready-made item to begin this list, and yes, I know that John Stewart already snagged this one and threw it back.
description

I turned up a visual art concept that fits in, for a restaurant based on EH themes:It is intimidating to offer a truly critical look at such a classic, so we will ease into it with a few images.

The GOP has offered us a ready-made item to begin this list, and yes, I know that John Stewart already snagged this one and threw it back.
description

I turned up a visual art concept that fits in, for a restaurant based on EH themes:description

Although I did not sit for this photo, the resemblance is indeed strikingdescription

And, of course
description
The Old Man and the Cee Lo.

I suppose am certain there are plenty more images one might lure into our net, but sticking to words for a bit, we will pass on the porn offering, The Old Man and the Semen. How about the moving tale of a Navy Construction veteran, The Old Man and the Seabees, or an obstetrical episode of Grey's Anatomy, The Old Man and the C-Section. Then there might be a psychological drama about a man with bipolar disorder, The Old Man and the See Saw, or a book about an elderly acupuncturist, The Old Man and the Chi. How about a Disney adventure in which Paul Hogan rescues a pinniped, yes, gentle reader, The Old Man and the Seal. Maybe a bit of Cuban self-affirmation, The Old Man and the Si. I could go on, of course, and probably will, at home, until my wife threatens to leave. The possibilities are rather endless. But the Geneva Conventions might be brought into play, and we can’t have that. Tackling such a review head on seems, somehow, wrong, like using paint by number to copy the Mona Lisa, carving the Pieta out of gigantic blocks of cheddar, writing a love poem for your beloved using MadLibs or (view spoiler) At some point, though, I guess you have to, you know, fish or cut bait.

I struggled mightily with this one, finding a hook, then having it pull away, grabbing hold of an idea and watching it disappear beneath waves of uncertainty. I tried waiting a while, resting between attempts, losing myself in other contemplations. Smiling a bit, but always hoping for something I could finally yank aboard. Notions of religious connections, Papa’s personal philosophy, and story-telling technique all pulled in diverse directions. As you will see, it was a not a simple contest. And I am not certain that what I ultimately caught is all that filling.
He was an old man who fished alone in a skiff in the Gulf Stream and he had gone eighty-four days now without taking a fish. In the first forty days a boy had been with him. But after forty days without a fish the boy’s parents had told him that the old man was now definitely and finally salao, which is the worst form of unlucky.
So opens The Old Man and the Sea, the book, we hear tell, that convinced the Nobel committee to reel in EGH with the biggest literary hook of them all. Santiago is an old, unlucky, but skilled Cuban fisherman. He has an able assistant, the young Manolin. The lad is not a blood relation, but he sees a father figure in the old man, and he may be a younger reflection of the old man himself. Maybe Santiago sees himself in the young man and takes some strength from that. Like the best sort of father, he teaches the boy to fish rather than fishing for him. But Santiago’s ill fortune has marked him as someone to be avoided and Manolin’s parents have put the kibosh on their professional association. The old man is determined to salvage his reputation, and his honor, and bring in some money by going farther out than the other fishermen are willing to sail, in search of redemption. No herald calls him to action. No dramatic event sparks him to excessive risk. It is an internal challenge that powers his engines. But it is a quest nonetheless on which Santiago embarks.

Any time there are fish involved, one might presume a degree of soul saving. I do not know enough Hemingway to have a take on whether or not that figured here. I raise it only as a passing thought. But the second sentence of the book offers a hint. “In the first forty days…”clearly places Santiago’s travails alongside another person who spent forty days in a different barren environment. It was after being baptized that Jesus spent his time in the desert, preparing for what awaited. Is Santiago to be tested here? Will he be offered a route away from his difficult path?

The waters are becalmed. Nothing moves. A moment, then, for a digression. OK, let’s try some simple arithmetic, if Jesus, at age 30, spent 40 days in the desert, and Santiago has gone 84 days in his version of the desert, just how old is the old man? 63, according to my calculations. Possible. I do not recall seeing an actual age noted, so I am gonna go with that. I know you guys will let me know if an actual age is revealed somewhere and my squinty geezer eyes missed it. Done. I can feel a slight breeze beginning to flutter the sail.

Some sort of religion seems to flow through this fish tale. Not only are we sprinkled with forty-day references, but Santiago discusses sin. In his struggles he suffers physical damage in which some might see an echo of Calvary. But I think that is a stretch, personally. So, we have a bit of religion, and a quest. What is Santiago questing for? Redemption would fit in nicely. Having failed for a long time, he feels a need to redeem himself in the eyes of his community. Maybe not a religious thing, per se, but swimming in the same waters. And speaking of religion, water as a baptismal element is always a possibility, although somewhat diluted here, as Santiago makes his living on the water.

The old man is strong, skilled and determined. Maybe it is his character that is at issue. Maybe somehow, taking on this challenge is a way to prove to himself that he is truly a man. He goes about his business, and his fishing is his fate, maybe even his life. It is in how he handles himself when faced with this challenge that will show us the sort of person he is, a common Hemingway theme, and he does just that.

This is a very short novel, more, maybe, a novella or large short story. But it has the feel of a parable. There is definitely something going on here even if it keeps slipping out of my analytical net.

I was reminded of another well-known fish story, Moby Dick (really, allow a little literary license here people. Yes I know the whale is not a fish. Geez.). Whereas in that one, the fisherman, Ahab, sets himself against the whale, and therefore either fate or god, seeing a personal enemy, Santiago sees the fish as his brother, a fellow creature in the universe acting out his part. The challenge is always about oneself and not about the external enemy, or rival. In fact, the fish and Santiago are both victimized, together, by the sharks that feast on his catch.
Then he was sorry for the great fish that had nothing to eat and his determination to kill him never relaxed in his sorrow for him. How many people will he feed, he thought. But are they worthy to eat him? No, of course not. There is not one worthy of eating him from the manner of his behaviour and his great dignity.
One might be forgiven for seeing here a possible reference to catholic communion and the relative merit of so many of those who receive. Is the fish (a Christian symbol if there ever was one) meant to be Jesus or some other form of deity, as Moby was?

Could it be that Hemingway’s notion of religion is less Christian and more a sort of materialist (as in non-spiritual, not as in accumulating stuff) philosophy? Lacking the proper tackle for that I will leave such considerations to those who have spent more time than I trolling Hemingway’s waters.

The writing is mostly either third-person description or the old man’s internal, and sometimes spoken, dialogue. Regardless of the literary ambitions splashing about here, the story is about a very sympathetic character. Santiago is a man not only of physical strength, but moral character. He is not portrayed as a saint, but as a simple man, maybe even, in a way, an ideal man in his simplicity. He knows his place in the world, faces the challenges that world presents to him and using only his skill, intelligence, strength and determination, overcomes (or not). It is easy to climb on board as a Santiago supporter. He is a fellow who is very much a part of the world, even as he contemplates larger things.

The Old Man and the Sea is a small story, but it is a whale of a tale. If you have not fished these waters before, don’t let this be one of those that got away.

WB32


==============================UPDATES

1/5/13 - Jeffrey Keeten sent along this amazing link. Gary Wyatt had shared it with him. It will definitely make you smile

6/20/13 - I discovered that one of the images I used had vanished into the ether, so I substituted another

9/4/2019 - I just came across a really wonderful piece about Hemingway, this book in particular, by Joe Fassler, in The Atlantic - The Hemingway Scene That Shows How Humanity Works, in which he interviews novelist Téa Obreht about the unexpected lions in this book - Great stuff. Check it out.
...more
Ahmad Sharabiani
521. The Old Man and The Sea, Ernest Hemingway
The Old Man and the Sea is a short novel written by the American author Ernest Hemingway in 1951 in Bimini, Bahamas, and published in 1952. It was the last major work of fiction by Hemingway that was published during his lifetime. One of his most famous works, it tells the story of Santiago, an aging Cuban fisherman who struggles with a giant marlin far out in the Gulf Stream off the coast of Cuba. In 1953, The Old Man and the Sea was awarded t
...more
Lisa
My children and I were crossing a bridge in Rome. Our senses were acutely sharpened. We were aware of each minute spent in this capital of human storytelling, of the neverending drama of human culture and nature in interaction and in occasional clashes. Looking out over the river, my son and I spot the sorry remains of a boat, just the bare metal frame without any "flesh", and we instinctively say at the same time:

"Hemingway's old man!"

We look at each other, smile at our simultaneo
...more
Riku Sayuj
The wolves will come...

I started this in high spirits as my updates show: "fifth re-read, how thrilling it is to plumb new depths in old wells of wisdom..."

But, as I read on towards the last few pages, I couldn't shake the feeling that this is Moby Dick set in an alternate universe.

In this alternate universe:

The Giant Leviathan is a noble, unseen fish - steady and without malice.
Captain Ahab is transformed into a gentle, wise old zen master. Santiago - a humble fisherman with no legendary crew to c/>Captain/>The/>In
...more
Kenny
’But man is not made for defeat’ he said. ‘A man can be destroyed, but not defeated.’

1

I first encountered Hemingway in college. I was taking a humanities class, and the professor had us read Hemingway’s The Nick Adams Stories . I fell in love with Hemingway’s short stories. I wrote an impassioned paper on the character of Nick and received an “A” for my efforts. Throughout the years, I have returned to Hemingway’s short stories, and novellas, and I have never been disappointed.

Fast forward 15 years: The Old Man and the
...more
Brina
Jun 17, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Ernest Hemingway is considered one of the masters of American 20th century fiction. Garnering from his life experiences, his novels reflect on his time as a newspaper reporter and correspondent in a Europe during both the inner war and war years. A member of the lost generation, Hemingway was the first of his group to have a major work published. In addition to all of the accolades bestowed upon him, Hemingway is considered along Steinbeck to be a master storyteller, especially of short stories. ...more
Jibran
My big fish must be somewhere.

Many years ago when I read The Old Man and the Sea I thought it was going nowhere, that it was too simple and ordinary to be of any consequence. On a second reading, however, my view changed and I ended up loving it. What I mistook for repetition was a literary device for emphasis and the boat, like the story, that I judged to be unmoving in the rolling seas was caught in a whirlpool churning the waters in its depth so that the boat and the old man at the sea were never
...more
Lyn
Jul 30, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A masterpiece.

Like a fable, this has become a part of our cultural consciousness. Santiago's simple heroism is a benchmark for all who persevere and endure.

description
Fergus
Dec 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
On July 2, 1961, Heaven and the world fell silent.

When a just man dies
Lamentation and praise
Sorrow and joy
Are one.

And some suicides, as Scobie’s in The Heart of the Matter, are - no matter what dour theologians May say - Trophies of Heaven.

Such, surely, was Hemingway’s.

That sunny, windy summer morning we all got the news, even my preteen friends and I were taciturn and sullen.

Ernest Hemingway had been a Hero in our world. Life an
...more
David Schaafsma
“He was an old man who fished alone in a skiff on the Gulf Stream and he had gone eighty-four days without a fish.”

A masterpiece.

I know that many many young people read this book and don’t quite get what all the hoopla is about, but I think it is not written with young people primarily in mind. There is the boy that supports the old man, true, but as with other stories about old people facing hardship—King Lear comes to mind—I think other stories may connect better for kids. I know I read this
...more
Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽
description

So, reading this book was my personal penance for reading a rather silly YA fantasy freebie, Obsidian. If I read something particularly shallow and brainless, I try to balance it out with a classic or something that makes me actually use my brain cells.

At first Hemingway's typical simple, spare prose and his testosterone-fueled values were getting on my nerves. Digression here: one of the funnier things I've read was a piece on McSweeney's titled "Toto's 'Africa' by Ernest Hemingway". If you know 80s pop music you'll enjoy
...more
Ian "Marvin" Graye
The Old Man and the Allegory

This book might just be an allegory of Darwinist Capitalism and the survival of the most aggressive and hungry in the world of corporate enterprise and rivalry.

Hey, What's the Big Idea?

It describes what it feels like to have one big idea or to invent something for which the market is not ready.

You struggle and wrestle with your "big fish" for ages, until in your mind you have caught it and perfected the way to reel it in, nobody is watching when/>Hey,
...more
Aj the Ravenous Reader
Jan 03, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Denzel Washington from "The Equalizer" (hehe)
Shelves: classic
3.5 stars but rounding it up because it's my first review for the new year. Happy 2016, Goodreaders!

"No one should be alone in their old age. But it is unavoidable."

And so the old man went to the ocean alone on his skiff to catch some fish but ended up being caught by the big fish instead, a fish so big, it controlled the skiff and took its own course at the sea. The big question is why didn't the old man just let go of the fish? It would have made his life easier. He was wise wasn't he? Bu
...more
Gaurav

The whole conviction of my life now rests upon the belief that loneliness, far from being a rare and curious phenomenon, peculiar to myself and to a few other solitary men, is the central and inevitable fact of human existence.
-Tom Wolfe




Loneliness of human existence is omnipresent, perhaps that is what human existence is condemned to and that is what has haunted human beings most since the early days of civilization. Though loneliness is an unavoidab
...more
Matthew
Mar 05, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: library, classic
This was my very first Hemingway and I loved it! However, I am not sure if it broke me for future Hemingway novels. This one was so perfect in its simpleness. When I got to other Hemingway novels it was almost like there was too much in them - I wanted the basics of this book again. That is not to say that I have not enjoyed his other books, but if I had read the others first and wasn't tempted to compare them to this, I would have rated them higher.

So, if you want to read lots of He
...more
Nandakishore Varma
"You have control over only your karma: never on its fruits. So because of [concern over] the fruits of your karma, never shirk from it."

This is most probably the most quoted, used, misused, praised and maligned verse from the Bhagavad Gita, where Lord Krishna instructs Arjuna on the Karma-yoga. It has been praised as the epitome of virtue to do your duty regardless of the consequences: it has been severely criticised as the upper caste Hindu spiritual drug to force a person to follow his caste
...more
Luís C.
My first Hemingway, that I had looked forward to seeing! And positive results, with a very good read, carried around Santiago, an old Cuban fisherman who has caught further fish for eighty seven days, and decided the next day to attempt once more to conquer the ocean.And from there, we follow three days of struggle, fury and battle the old man facing a huge fish, sturgeon; it finally so close to this human, that will express the same feelings and that will eventually move the fisherman. Finally, ...more
Fabian {Councillor}
On the first glance, The Old Man and the Sea is a very simple story about a Cuban fisherman fighting against a giant marlin. On the second glance ... it is still a very simple story. You won't find any complex characters in this story, you won't find even the smallest trace of complexity. One can try to find symbolisms in this story (and will most likely succeed), but as Ernest Hemingway said himself:

"There isn't any symbolism. The sea is the sea. The old man is an old man. The boy is a/>
...more
Henry Avila
Jun 08, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: yes
Recommended to Henry by: nobody
The tail, excuse me, The tale of an elderly fisherman and his not so good friend , a 1,500 lbs. marlin. They meet for lunch and immediately fight over the menu (he wants the fish , as the main course). This disagreement causes some friction. Boys will be boys. So eventually, the two, decide to take a long leisurely voyage , to cool off. What harm can happen? Imagine, Cain and Abel , without the brotherly love...
Ginger
Jul 27, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: library-book, 2019
Since there’s about 20,000 reviews of The Old Man and the Sea on Goodreads and they're likely better then this one, I’m keeping it brief.

I’m surprised with how much I enjoyed this book! This is my first book by Hemingway and I’m glad I started with The Old Man and the Sea.

It’s pretty straightforward. There’s an old fisherman, he’s broke and he's had the worse luck with fishing recently. He lives in Cuba and this was written back in 1952, so the fishing is old school. I honestly can't imagine trying to fish li/>I’m
...more
Dean J. Hill
Aug 12, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: four-star-reads


THE REVIEW

I’m ashamed to confess to never having read Hemingway – but devoured this fable for its simple yet powerful storytelling; from the depiction of Santiago’s struggles to convincing representation of the Havana coastline, this tale of hope is laced with philosophical value where readers embark on a journey through nature. The author skilfully fashions a meaningful and symbolic narrative – lions deployed as catalysts for disparate natural forces including life and death, the tugging of fish emblema
...more
Dan Schwent
May 13, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2015
After eighty-five fishless days, Santiago hooks more than he bargained for. Can he battle everything the sea throws at him to land his prize?

In the interest of reading a wider variety of things, I snapped this up like an eighteen-foot marlin bites a baited hook. It was definitely worth a read.

The Old Man and the Sea is the tale of an Old Man. And a Sea. It's man vs. nature at its finest. Hemingway's language is spare but very powerful. I felt every wound and heartbreak al
...more
Peter
Jul 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horror
This is one of my favourite Hemingway books ever. The old fisherman has the catch of his lifetime and loses everything in a hard struggle to nature. Only bits and pieces of the great Marlin remain. What a book and what a powerful prose. A book to take with you on a deserted island. You seldom find so much symbolism condensed in one single and relatively short book. Very emotional and moving. One of my alltime favourites, a timeless classic! Recommended? I would say this is an absolute must read!
Greg
Oct 24, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
Whether or not one enjoys this book is partly a matter of personal temperament, but upon re-reading, I'm convinced more than ever that The Old Man and the Sea is objectively Hemingway's best.

Here's why I think so: Hemingway's prose is deliberately minimalist, the sentences carefully stripped back. In its best moments, I think his prose feels like looking into a clear water. The style doesn't obtrude or obscure; it has a lovely cleanness; so what's suggested underneath the words has the feel of bei
...more
Luffy
Mar 04, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Maybe I'm being a little dim in not appreciating something this important. I'm not appreciating the importance of this book. But I can only look at it through my eyes. I can only relate my reading experience.

The book covers 4 days or so of the Old Man's life as a fisherman. Like many books from that period (namely from American authors) the major events are glossed over. It's a style that has not survived the passage of other influences.

This book could have been one of th
...more
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20,916 followers
Ernest Miller Hemingway was an American author and journalist. His economical and understated style had a strong influence on 20th-century fiction, while his life of adventure and his public image influenced later generations. Hemingway produced most of his work between the mid-1920s and the mid-1950s, and won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1954. He published seven novels, six short story collec ...more
“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.” 2544 likes
“But man is not made for defeat," he said. "A man can be destroyed but not defeated.” 1800 likes
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