the old man and the sea (Ernest Hemingway)

old man and the seaHe remembered the time he had hooked one of a pair of marlin.  The male fish always let the female fish feed first and the hooked fish, the female, made a wild, panic-stricken, despairing fight that soon exhausted her, and all the time the male had stayed with her, crossing the line and circling with her on the surface.  He had stayed so close that the old man was afraid he would cut the line with his tail which was sharp as a scythe and almost of that size and shape.  When the old man had gaffed her and clubbed her, holding the rapier bill with its sandpaper edge and clubbing her across the top of her head until her colour turned to a colour almost like the backing of mirrors, and then, with the boy’s aid, hoisted her aboard, the male fish had stayed by the side of the boat.  Then, while the old man was clearing the lines and preparing the harpoon, the male fish jumped high into the air beside the boat to see where the female was and then went down deep, his lavender wings, that were his pectoral fins, spread wide and all his wide lavender stripes showing.  He was beautiful, the old man remembered, and he had stayed.

That was the saddest thing I ever saw with them, the old man thought.  The boy was sad too and we begged her pardon and butchered her promptly.

— The Old Man and the Sea (Ernest Hemingway)


This book is thin, about 127 pages, but how come it felt like I was reading a 1000-page book, feels like I won’t ever reach the ending.  Just when I made a declaration to my younger brother that this book is boring me to death (I don’t relate to fishing!) but still resume reading it anyway, suddenly, things began to change, to excite me.

The Old Man and the Sea is a story about a down on his luck fisherman, an old man, who sailed far across the ocean in solitude despite warnings from his devoted apprentice and friend, Manolin.  Hoping to catch lots of fish this time, he  got the biggest surprise of his life when he caught a giant marlin that’s totally different from the fishes he had caught before from long ago.  Not just because of its great size but because of its strangeness and courageous attempts to be free that pushed the old man into a tug-of-war with the giant fish for a long number of days.  And the kind of journey he went through just to protect his most-prized possession–and his life–from an impending bad weather and the predators of the sea was really astonishing.

I bought this book because I’m curious to get to know the works of Mr. Ernest Hemingway who committed suicide in 1961.  This is my first book by the author.

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