The Old Man and the Sea – Ernest Hemingway.
I am always in Awe (read jealous) with people claiming to read books from the likes of the greatest of the great writers that unfortunately I have heard but never read, it makes me shake me sad and feel ashamed for being so “Unread” that I at times literally feel like I am some illiterate who has not read nothing at all, but I take it positively mostly and try to lay my hands on as many from those greatest great as I can. They may or may not make any sense to me, but even if I am able to grab a line or more from it which makes sense, I supremely believe its worth a try. And I must tell you which one is the most terrific name that totally amazes me whenever someone mentions that they have or are reading a “Hemingway”, I don’t know why but that name is so intriguing and see how amazing it sounds “Ernest Hemingway”, more like one of the much loved American President Or may be an acclaimed Scientist who worked with Einstein or Newton, a someone like Martin Luther King and all. That name for one has such a weight and personality associated with it that I always picture a fat man in a three piece suit with a gold chain stuck on his jacket’s button with a watch inside his right jacket pocket with wire rimmed glasses on his thick nose and sharp small eyes looking at me with a permanent frown on his face about to blast me saying “So, you haven’t read my books yet? You Fool, you have no right to live, Go Die!”. I really don’t know to this moment how he looks like and who is he other than of-course an Amazing (read A M A Z I N G) Author for sure. So not to make it too complicated and die seeing him cursing in my dreams, I got this short and sweet book by him which turns out to be totally magical (as if I didn’t imagine it already). One word, I’ve got to say about it “TERRIFIC”.
The story of Santiago, an old fisherman, who goes without catching a single fish for 87 days at a stretch but hasn’t lost all hopes that he believes the 88th day is his lucky day and he is going to catch a fish of some size that will be good for the rest of the year. He has a very young friend too, guess a teenager who is usually with him but for some reason couldn’t make it that day and Santiago goes alone. The twist and turns his story takes, how he tries his level best to catch a big fish, he actually catches one but the way he struggles to hold it, kill it and bring it on board his small boat is the story all about. To what extent he goes on his adventure and for how long? you’ve got to read the book to know that. Its such a short, sweet and fast read that I almost finished it in a single sitting (115 pages) only. The drama, background, suspense, struggle and Old man’s ramblings are too good to read. The best part about (now I can qualify to write this) a Hemingway book is its simplicity. As they say, there are so many who strive to write like him but there can only be one Hemingway. Its adorable, I didnt need a dictionary to read this and at no point I had to ask my dad anything while reading this. I rather finished and gave it to him saying “Old man, you’ve got to read this book, you will love it and will be able to draw so many parallels from this story”. I was shocked to read the detailing of fishing, it was simply Wow, if someone is looking for some lessons in proper fishing, this book can be used is a ready reckoner too. Mind-blowing is his knowledge and the way it is told is that I could actually visualize everything as I was watching a movie and not reading a book.
No doubt, that the book The Old Man and the Sea was not only awarded a Pulitzer Prize for Fiction but it was cited as a contributing factor in Hemingway winning a Nobel Prize for Literature, just imagine. The book is a total philosophical read (my personal opinion) but never gets preachy. But do you also think that we can draw so many parallels from the story? As if our own life story he was trying to tell through his characters, what is that “Fish” behind which we all are running, how hard it is to actually catch and do we survive to catch it finally? or is it really worth it in the end once you catch that Big Fish? I am sure its not only me who would have noticed all that even otherwise its a terrific story told in a most simplistic yet riveting manner and I am so looking forward to his other works now.
If you haven’t read this yet, guess Ernest is going to come in your dream tonight and will haunt you like he did to me 🙂 but if you have read and loved it, do let me know how you liked it.