A Classic: The Old Man and the Sea

Old Man & the SeaAuthor: Ernest Hemingway

Publisher: Charles Scribner, 1952

Format: Audiobook (Simon & Schuster) – Read by Donald Sutherland

My husband and I read this book back when we were first married. We were in our twenties and big Hemingway fans. We spent hours talking about the author, the book and the ideas expressed in it. I recall talking a lot about our philosophy of life and how we would act when we were old.

A lot of time and living has taken place since those days. Although Hemingway isn’t as popular now as he was back in the 50s and 60s, we’re still fans. I found an audiobook copy of The Old Man and the Sea and thought I would see how it stands up against our previous reading.

I’m happy to report it is still an excellent story. It’s the tale of an old fisherman, Santiago, who lives in Cuba. Santiago is poor and he fears his “luck” has run out. He’s been fishing for 84 days without catching a fish of substance.

As the story opens, Santiago is starting early because he has a hunch that today is the day. He’s positive he will catch the big one. And he does. He does it very skillfully and calls upon his decades of experience to land an enormous marlin.

The marlin is crafty and it takes great skill to finally wear him out. It also takes three days and numerous episodes of fighting off sharks that take big chunks out of the marlin. Fortunately, they don’t get Santiago or upend his boat. He makes it back to his fishing village and he regains the admiration of the village people.

Although it’s a simple story, there is so much meaning and philosophy of life that goes along with it. It’s the reason we have loved and remembered this book all these years. It’s probably why the book won the Pulitzer Prize for literature back in 1953. It’s considered Hemingway’s greatest works.

I recommend you listen to this book as read by Donald Sutherland. He made the story cone alive. I found our copy at our local library. 2 hours and 30 minutes.

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3 Responses to A Classic: The Old Man and the Sea

  1. This is one of the books I feel like I need to read but am a little intimidated to do so.

  2. candice says:

    great review! i love the perspective that you have on this novel; having read it when you were very young and again after so many years. i should give this a try since i haven’t read much Hemingway…

  3. I read this a couple of years ago and appreciated it so much more than when I was in high school! Think I’ll add the audio to my list now… Thanks, Margot!

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