Set in the Gulf Stream off the coast of Havana, Hemingway's magnificent fable is the story of an old man, a young boy and a giant fish. In a perfectly crafted story, which won for Hemingway the Nobel Prize for Literature, is a unique and timeless vision of the beauty and grief of man's challenge to the elements in which he lives.
Wohoo People! This is my 250th review and I wanted it to be a review of a special book and I chose this one.
When I was really young, my mother would narrate to me the classics and historical stories instead of fairy tales. This was one of the stories she had narrated to me and at that time I had been enchanted by one man catching the biggest fish in the ocean factor. Couple of years later my parents put me through reading the classics and this book was one of them. This was a phase where I felt that all classics were such a bore. Yes, I know – I was stupid. So anyway, I had flown through these pages as fast as I could so that I could get back to my favourite detective novel. Well, I have gotten over the ‘classics are a bore’ phase long time back and have been rereading them. It is only recently that thanks to Random House India, I got my hands on a review copy of this one.
This is essentially the story of Santiago, an old fisherman. He had a young helper, whose parents forced him to leave Santiago and work on a luckier boat since Santiago hadn’t caught anything at the sea for almost three months. Santiago has long since reached the age where he should have retired but, he continued to work due to the everyday needs that everyone needs money to fulfil. But with his assistant gone (who often stops by unofficially with food, baits and other things), one day Santiago decided that he had to break this spell somehow. The next day, he takes out his boat and goes deeper into the sea than anyone. Finally a fish took his bait and Santiago discovers that he had caught a huge fish, a Marlin. But on his way back, lured by the Marlin’s blood sharks attack the boat and Santiago has to fight them off. In the end Santiago get back home safe and tired.
This time around I loved this book probably because I have a better understanding of life than I had as a teenager and I am more open to receiving the messages that a book may have. There is enough symbolism in the story and it is open to every person’s own interpretation. For me it was kind of symbolic how people desert you when you are down and successful and once you are successful, you have not only have friends around but also people like the sharks, who would like to tear you down from the heights that you have scaled. Santiago stands for courage, determination and grit. Ernest Hemingway’s prose in this book is beautiful. It felt a bit different from his other books, but still beautifully narrated.
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