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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars HIs shortest and best novel
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...
Published on Sept. 21 2006 by Kathy (Kath4)

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars "We must kill our brothers"
I really enjoyed the movie (1990) with Anthony Quinn as Santiago. So I decided it was time to read the book. Well I found the book and the movie paralleled pretty well. How ever I was getting bored with the book. He kept going on and on about Joe Dimaggio's bone spur.

There were a few places that made me squeamish. One such place is when he gutted a dolphin and...
Published on Jan. 20 2007 by bernie


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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars HIs shortest and best novel, Sept. 21 2006
This review is from: Old Man and the Sea (Paperback)
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 "fanatic" (Scarborough,, Ontario Canada) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
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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
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This review is from: Old Man and the Sea (Paperback)
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
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This review is from: Old Man and the Sea (Paperback)
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 (Montréal) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: The Old Man and the Sea (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
This review is from: Old Man and the Sea (Paperback)
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. But he protests and cajoles and pleads at his individual body parts to work, for them not to fail. 'Hold up, legs. Last for me, head. Last for me. You never went.' He knows he can do it, but, because of his age and the majesty of his 'brother', he is worried that maybe this time, this fish will be the one that got away.
Hemingway's writing is sparse and effective. Sentences are short, sharp, and have very little in the way of flowery words or fancy punctuation. The writing suits the story very well, because Santiago is an up and down man himself. What you see is what you get, both in the characters, the setting, and the writing. There is also the interesting effect where, due to the simplicity of the writing and the sparse selection of characters, the story can be interpreted on many levels. On one, it is the story of man struggling and fighting for something that, once achieved, we cannot hold on to. On the other, it is the sadness and inevitability of age. Or the insignificance of the single man in today's group-action world. Or many other interpretations.
The ending is sad, beautiful and completely appropriate. Could the novel have ended any other way? Yes, but I argue that if it had, then the message, the electricity, the purpose that Hemingway had been building for the previous 90 pages, this would have been lost with the easy, happy solution. Instead, we have man's failure in success, and Santiago's calm acceptance, and it is inspiring. Pick up a copy of this thoughtful, beautifully written novel. Another book I need to recommend -- completely unrelated to Hemingway, but very much on my mind since I purchased a "used" copy off Amazon is "The Losers' Club: Complete Restored Edition," a somewhat raw, but oddly engaging little novel I can't stop thinking about.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Big Fish, April 10 2005
This review is from: Old Man and the Sea (Paperback)
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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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hemmingway and the critics, Aug. 5 2010
By 
D Glover (northern bc, canada) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Old Man and the Sea (Paperback)
This is my favourite Hemmingway work. I read it once in school and then again just recently. Some reviewers here have discussed the struggle and the characters, still others have spoken of the book's merits. I will say it is classic Hemmingway, with solid, tangible descriptions without ornament. In this work, Hemmingway simultaneously acheives economy and artistry, something few can do and no one I know of can do better.

But is this a metaphor? I had some fun thinking of a metaphor that might have subconsciously possessed this book while the author was struggling through a difficult time in his vocation...

Of course Hemmingway is Santiago in some part as all writers must put something of themselves into their characters or they aren't real. Perhaps the sea is life, fishing is writing, the marlin is a story, and the sharks are the critics, and money from fishing is, well, money form writing. The writer sometimes has spells of bad luck and unfruitful attempts at creating a story. People say the writer is unlucky or their career is done. But the writer struggles faithfully, attempting to create successfully again, having tasted success and being an adept at his craft, believing it is only a matter of time before things go his way again. And he needs to eat. Then, on a day when one expects only the familiar bad luck, all the while trying to maintain optimism, the author gets a bite and the possibility seems grand. After a long, hard fought battle which brings the writer to the end of himself several times, a great story is completed. The author is exhausted but relieved that his block is over and his luck has changed. He knows in his bones this is a great work. But then, as he is bringing it to market, the critics start to circle and pick his work apart. The author and the work he has struggled so long to create are inseparable. During the writing, at times the manuscript seemed like his enemy, but now it is a part of him, and when the critics attack his work, they attack him. He attempts to defend his work, sacrificing himself for it's sake, but there are more critics than he can handle and he can't deal with them all at once. They shred the work he has fought so hard to produce and in the end, only the few who really knew him in his prime see the prize for what it is and their respect for him is renewed and deepened. But the author knows the work is good, no matter what people might say. He must be able to stand before his own conscience with honesty. And despite all the attacks and the fact that his work is shreaded, he can sleep at night again with the tired satisfaction that he has shaken off his bad luck and he can really create again.

Or perhaps the great fish is the literary work, the fight is the struggle to produce a truly great work, and the sharks are a combination of the personal demons the author fights and his own exacting editing process. He finishes, not with a fat and fleshy prize that will bring good money in the market, but with a bare bones work that maintains the enormity of the scope yet with the economy that results from flogging oneself until every line has nothing left but what is absolutely required to tell the story. In this work is not the triumph of a happy ending but the more mature triumph of survival in the midst of tragedy.

It's a fun exercise, but ultimately, I think the metaphor in this book is there only because all good stories reflect real life. I don't think Hemmingway tried to write about "real life" and needed a vehicle by which to do it. I think he wanted to write about an old man, a boy, a big fish, the sea, and a great struggle, and I think he did it very well. I think he did it so well, we all see ourselves in the old man and our lives in the sea.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Failure in Success: a hard life lesson, Aug. 3 2005
This review is from: Old Man and the Sea (Paperback)
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. But he protests and cajoles and pleads at his individual body parts to work, for them not to fail. 'Hold up, legs. Last for me, head. Last for me. You never went.' He knows he can do it, but, because of his age and the majesty of his 'brother', he is worried that maybe this time, this fish will be the one that got away.
Hemingway's writing is sparse and effective. Sentences are short, sharp, and have very little in the way of flowery words or fancy punctuation. The writing suits the story very well, because Santiago is an up and down man himself. What you see is what you get, both in the characters, the setting, and the writing. There is also the interesting effect where, due to the simplicity of the writing and the sparse selection of characters, the story can be interpreted on many levels. On one, it is the story of man struggling and fighting for something that, once achieved, we cannot hold on to. On the other, it is the sadness and inevitability of age. Or the insignificance of the single man in today's group-action world. Or many other interpretations.
The ending is sad, beautiful and completely appropriate. Could the novel have ended any other way? Yes, but I argue that if it had, then the message, the electricity, the purpose that Hemingway had been building for the previous 90 pages, this would have been lost with the easy, happy solution. Instead, we have man's failure in success, and Santiago's calm acceptance, and it is inspiring. Pick up a copy of this thoughtful, beautifully written novel. Another book I need to recommend -- completely unrelated to Hemingway, but very much on my mind since I purchased a "used" copy off Amazon is "The Losers' Club: Complete Restored Edition," a somewhat raw, but oddly engaging little novel I can't stop thinking about.
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2.0 out of 5 stars Poor second-hand book quality, Oct. 8 2011
I was disappointed in the poor quality of the used book. There is a huge water stain all across the back cover of the book. The advert DID NOT represent just how poor the condition of the paper is. A bit more honestly from this seller for their future sales would be nice!
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Old Man and the Sea
Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway (Paperback - May 5 1995)
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