Technically, The Old Man and the Sea is a novella. Too long to be a
story and too short to be a novel, itís the perfect length for a plane
ride or a lazy afternoon. Regardless what itís called, though, this is the
best piece of fiction Iíve read in many a year.
In The Old Man and the Sea, Hemingway tells the classic story of a fisherman
that hasnít had so much as a tug on his line in nearly three months. He
refuses to believe that his days of catching fish are over so he pushes further
out every day. The plot picks up when he finally does snag the catch of his
The story is remarkable for its simplicity and for its deep symbolism. Iíll
leave it to the English teachers in the audience to explain what Hemingway was
trying to s
ay with this battle between a man and a fish. What I will tell you
is Hemingway uses his trademark terse style to totally absorb the readerís
In short, simple phrases he creates a struggle that everyone can understand.
He makes you feel the fishing line pulling across the old manís back as
the fish dives deeper. Everything the old man endures, you will too. Thatís
what good writing does for a reader, after all, and this work of art contains
perhaps the finest example of reader involvement in the past generation.
Itís embarrassing that it took me so many years to decide to pick up a
book this good. If you havenít read it yet, get a copy right now (you can
do that through the link at the top of this page). Itíll be money well