This Hemingway novel will make you feel a little bit of everything, from hope to anxiousness to sadness and everything in between. Especially if you’re a fisherman or have a history of being out at sea, you will truly feel Santiago’s pain during this journey Hemingway takes the reader on.
Santiago, the aging man in The Old Man and the Sea is an experienced Cuban fisherman who is considered the worst form of unlucky in his town because he’s now gone 84 days without catching a single fish. Manolin, the young boy who looks up to Santiago, goes and visits Santiago every night, despite being forbidden by his parents. Manolin and Santiago have a strict yet sweet relationship, discussing purely fishing and baseball (Joe DiMaggio is Santiago’s favorite baseball player). Santiago is convinced that his unlucky streak is about to be over though, and the next day heads out on his skiff way out in the Gulf Stream off the coast of Cuba.
Mid-day comes and one of Santiago’s lines is bit with a large fish, which he assumes to be a marlin. Considering Santiago’s age and strength, however, he is not able to reel in the marlin – the marlin actually ends up pulling him. Hemingway then takes you on the tumultuous journey of the old man holding onto the line for over two days. Hemingway’s descriptions really make you feel like you’re right there in Santiago’s small boat with him, struggling and fighting for this fish – all while respecting it at the same time. So is Santiago successful bringing in this once in a lifetime catch? Or does the marlin defeat him? You’ll have to read to find out.
The Old Man and the Sea is one of Hemingway’s most classic pieces of work and, fun fact – the last major fiction work that was published during his lifetime. This short novel is a little over 100 pages long, meaning you can totally knock it out in an hour or two if you’ve never read it. This novel has special meaning to me as well as my dad used to read it to me at night when I was little. Overall I highly recommend reading this classic piece of American literature, especially if you’re looking for a quick and easy read.