Yesterday my husband took our 3 children beach fishing at the Murray Mouth. The 6 year old caught two tiny fish and 2 crabs, no one else caught anything, much to their disappointment. Ironic that I was reading this book (or should I say novella) about the ebbs and flow of luck and fishing. I tried to explain to the children that it was also about the experience of fishing and the skills that you learn. Needless to say they weren’t all that sympathetic and really just wanted to catch a fish.
At the risk of sounding like a broken record, I loved this book. It had a sparcity of language which was wonderful, almost stoccato in tempo throughout that whisked me away to the world of the Old man. What a beautiful relationship he had with the boy, I enjoyed their relationship almost as much as his relationship to the fish and the sea. It was a romantic tale of a very poor mans pride and desperation to achieve his glory of old. Yes, I thought it was romantic, he loved his life on the sea and the life of fishing with passion and dedication. He endured financial and physical hardship, living a subsistence life that we could not imagine today, cocooned in our comfortable, western lives. He endured because he loved. His greatest love after his wife and the boy was that of the fish.
The fish itself is a noble and proud being, much like the old man. The tragedy of what happened to the giant marlin was inevitable, and the old man valiantly attempted to stave off this. I was actually happy that the old man was not able to achieve bringing the fish home whole, I think the story is far more poignant and rich as a result. The victorious fisherman returning home would not have suited the character of the book or the story of the old man and the boy; I admire Hemingway’s story construction. The final part of the story showed the true beauty of the friendship of the boy and the old man and the respect with which the village did hold for the old man; this was a far more victorious ending.
I could easily read it again, not because it isn’t long, but because it was a wonderful story that I am sure a re-read will bring many new thoughts about it.
Readability 10 out of 10
Cant put down rating 9 out of 10
Recommend to others 9 out of 10
Do I want to read another by by this author – yes.
Book #4 – Lost Horizon by James Hilton. I continue my journey of reading older books, classics that I have never read and always have wanted to.