I just realized this review was (and is) on Goodreads, however I think posting it here is still a good idea, as I will add some things. Here is the original. My additions will be bold! 😉
Starting this book while reading Dickens was not the best idea. I was reading Bleak House at the time.
The difference in style and complexity of the writing may have obscured my judgement of the novel and Hemingway’s ability as an author, shall we say? In fact, I’m convinced that I am underestimating the novel. I am not underestimating it now, it’s great!
The writing is rather simple and the story seems quite slow-paced at times. Obviously, I did not try to comprehend and enjoy the book in its literal meaning as that would have resulted in very negative feedback. And so this novel needs a lot more thought than some others. Thankfully, the theme,meaning, message, and what not, is great enough for the reader to overlook some of the more tedious parts of the story. Especially the parts leading up to the climax, filled with some repetition, made it more difficult than desired for me to get into the story. I felt that the repetition during the dénouement with the recurring shark “attacks” ( I am trying my best not to include any spoilers,but I must mention something!) was more necessary, and so I overlooked that. Of course the repetitions were used by Hemingway as a writing element or “tool” to make the climax stand out the more, after so many “outtakes”.
Ah, Santiago. Well, Hemingway created a very… I want to say “vague” character, however that would not be doing him justice, as the old man is more simple-minded, rather than vague. I realize that the fisherman needs not be some extraordinary character, because that would defeat the purpose of portraying the average human being facing the “sea”—life. Some believe that Santiago symbolizes Christ,as he has some of the latter’s qualities, and the end provides the base for
this belief. Also, *SPOILER* it is up to you whether you want to believe he died at the end or not. *SPOILER OVER* The story has an “open” ending, here are the last few sentences.
“Up the road, in his shack, the old man was sleeping again. He was still sleeping on his face and the boy was sitting by him watching him. The old man was dreaming about the lions.”
As mentioned before, The Old Man and the Sea requires a lot of reading between the lines on the part of the reader, and if one is not too good with that, he will find himself struggling throughout and disliking the book.
I am definitely rereading this book when my mind ripens.
Originally I gave this book three stars: blame it all on Dickens and his ten-dollar words! But now I am adding one more. It’s a pity Hemingway shot himself…