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Old Man And The Sea [Special Edition] [Hardcover]

Ernest Hemingway
3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (555 customer reviews)
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Kindle Edition --  
School & Library Binding CDN $16.30  
Hardcover, Special Edition, June 10 1996 CDN $16.97  
Print on Demand (Paperback) CDN $9.42  
Mass Market Paperback --  
Audio, CD, Audiobook, Unabridged CDN $17.24  

Book Description

June 10 1996 Scribner Classics
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 courage in the face of defeat and personal triumph won from loss and transforms them into a magnificent twentieth-century classic.

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Here, for a change, is a fish tale that actually does honor to the author. In fact The Old Man and the Sea revived Ernest Hemingway's career, which was foundering under the weight of such postwar stinkers as Across the River and into the Trees. It also led directly to his receipt of the Nobel Prize in 1954 (an award Hemingway gladly accepted, despite his earlier observation that "no son of a bitch that ever won the Nobel Prize ever wrote anything worth reading afterwards"). A half century later, it's still easy to see why. This tale of an aged Cuban fisherman going head-to-head (or hand-to-fin) with a magnificent marlin encapsulates Hemingway's favorite motifs of physical and moral challenge. Yet Santiago is too old and infirm to partake of the gun-toting machismo that disfigured much of the author's later work: "The brown blotches of the benevolent skin cancer the sun brings from its reflection on the tropic sea were on his cheeks. The blotches ran well down the sides of his face and his hands had the deep-creased scars from handling heavy fish on the cords." Hemingway's style, too, reverts to those superb snapshots of perception that won him his initial fame:
Just before it was dark, as they passed a great island of Sargasso weed that heaved and swung in the light sea as though the ocean were making love with something under a yellow blanket, his small line was taken by a dolphin. He saw it first when it jumped in the air, true gold in the last of the sun and bending and flapping wildly in the air.
If a younger Hemingway had written this novella, Santiago most likely would have towed the enormous fish back to port and posed for a triumphal photograph--just as the author delighted in doing, circa 1935. Instead his prize gets devoured by a school of sharks. Returning with little more than a skeleton, he takes to his bed and, in the very last line, cements his identification with his creator: "The old man was dreaming about the lions." Perhaps there's some allegory of art and experience floating around in there somewhere--but The Old Man and the Sea was, in any case, the last great catch of Hemingway's career. --James Marcus --This text refers to the Paperback edition.


"It is unsurpassed in Hemingway's oeuvre. Every word tells and there is not a word too many" -- Anthony Burgess "A quite wonderful example of narrative art. The writing is as taut, and at the same time as lithe and cunningly played out, as the line on which the old man plays the fish" Guardian --This text refers to the Mass Market Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars HIs shortest and best novel Sept. 21 2006
Believed by many to have been written at the time of Hemingway's innermost struggles, this story provided proof that Hemingway could indeed write a classic after so many years. The Old Man And The Sea tells the story of an aging Cuban fisherman who has gone over eighty days without catching one fish. This string of bad luck comes after having made a career out of fishing in the Gulf Stream. Resisting those who offered help, the old man sets out to sea and indeed catches a giant Marlin. But the story does not stop there. Despite having hooked the Marlin, the old man remains in his boat trying to hold on to the fishing line and his mortality, while the Marlin perseveres in its attempt to escape death. While holding on and writhing in pain, the old man learns more about himself than he ever had before. His spirituality and empathy for others reaches an apex, and his graciousness in defeat reveals the identity of his character. The Old Man And The Sea is a story of revival and hope, followed by reality and defeat. This novel stands out as incredibly well written, a common characteristic of Hemingway novels and short stories. Despite being a short read, this short story leaves the reader with much more to ponder. The Old Man And the Sea is an excellent selection for anyone who can read between the lines. It proves itself as a classic that cannot be ignored. Also recommended: -----katzenjammer -----by Jackson McCrae, totally different but fun like Heller or Sedaris's works.
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5.0 out of 5 stars a classic! March 1 2014
By Susan Shepherd TOP 1000 REVIEWER
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I never read this as a young person for some reason but now that I am an old woman, the old man in this tale might have grabbed my attention it was tender and exciting and exhausting and disappointing all at once. it is so well written that you can just picture the struggle the man had and his strengths and failings all through the night.Excellent fast paced read.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Perfect Gift Jan. 19 2014
By NariusM
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
My giftee enjoyed literature and Old Man and the Sea is never a disappointment!
The shipment was ahead of schedule and got to the destination swiftly and with care.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Hemingway at it's best!!! Oct. 19 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This book profoundly touched me!!! I didn't know books like this existed i only read it because im doing the 100 best books of all times list and im glad i had the opportunity to explore Ernest Hemingway and experience the pleasure that reading his novels can bring. Truly one of the best authors. I would recommend this book to anyone!!! It's quite small but the impact is amazing!!!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Masterful! Nov. 24 2012
By Pierre Gauthier TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Audio CD
This work's reputation is fully deserved.

It is short and devoid of any frills.

There are but a few characters, actually only one of whom is fully developed.

Though suspenseful, the plot is simple and straightforward.

Yet, this work is profound, thought-provoking and meaningful.

In this audio version, the narration is fully up to par.

In short, it is a definite must.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Failure in Success: a hard life lesson June 26 2005
Santiago is an old man. He was once a great fisherman, but no longer. The other fishermen ridicule him, or ignore him. Eighty days without a fish, and the parents of the small boy who helps him, Manolin, have forbidden him to work with Santiago any more. He is unlucky, they say, and the word is echoed around town.
But the old fisherman does not mind. He knows that life is difficult, that not everything goes the way you wish it would. On the eighty-fifth day, he sets out into the water, alone, and hooks a great fish. 'Never have I had such a strong fish nor one who acted so strangely', he muses to himself, early on in the battle. For it is a battle. The fish he has caught is strong, has great endurance, and a cunning that Santiago admires.
As time passes, he starts to talk to himself more and more. He muses on the strength of the fish, and how they are brothers. He desperately wants to catch it, so that he can return to Havana with some glory and enough money to sit and listen to the 'great DiMaggio' on the radio, in peace. But he also admires the fish, and gradually, he becomes unsure as to whether he has made the right decision in trying so hard to kill it.
'Never have I seen a greater, or more beautiful, or a calmer or more noble thing than you, brother. Come on and kill me. I do not care who kills who.'
Santiago is an old man, a man who has accepted his weaknesses and failures, but who also knows his strengths. He has a great confidence in his own abilities, but it is a weary, hesitant confidence that is difficult to explain. On the one hand, he knows that he has the capability to capture the fish. He has caught large fish before, and, thanks to the raw fish he has been eating, considers that he has the strength to keep going, for ever if necessary.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Big Fish April 10 2005
I normally stick with a current bestseller, such as "Life of Pi" or Jackson McCrae's "Children's Corner," but instead wanted to do some scholarly reading and picked "Old Man" instead. There is no mistaking the vast religious symbols in " The Old Man and the Sea". First the book starts out with a fisherman teaching a boy basic values and good behavior. Then Santiago (the "old man") goes out and upon catching the fish slashes his hands, symbolizing the nails Jesus encountered, the cuts on his back that symbolized the whipping Jesus endured, and the horrible headache that hit the heat struck old man during the fight, that symbolized the crown of thorns that Jesus was forced to wear during the crucifiction. Also at the very end of the book, when he gets back home, he ends up carrying the mast of his vessel up to his hut on his shoulder and falling several times to rest. Nothing more than that summerization can give a better paralization of Christ carrying the cross on his horrid journey and falling three times. Even though Hemingway would never admit to any of this as religious symbolism, anybody can easily see the many examples of it.
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