Friday, September 2, 2011

Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemmingway

Santiago is going out fishing.  He does this every day; however for the last eighty or so days, he hasn't caught anything.  This has labeled him as unlucky; and the boy he usually takes with him isn't allowed to go out onto the sea anymore.  Today, he lets the boy help him with the gaff, sail, ropes and bait before he watches him go with another fisherman.  Santiago wishes he had the help as he's an old man and wants to catch a good fish to show he's not unlucky and it's not time to retire.  So, today, he goes out further than the other boats - out where the water turns a darker hue and the land can barely be seen - before he casts his lines and waits.  
Before long, one of his lines goes and a fight begins for Santiago; this is between him and a fish - a Marlin, the biggest he's ever seen - to see who will survive.  But being such an old man, will he die before the Marlin tires out and he can take it into shore?

Hemmingway has written a brilliant book in fantastic detail about fishing for that one big fish - that whale so to say - which can make or break you.  Santiago's struggle with his catch is ongoing; and you struggled along with him as you read this simply written book.  The description in it is just gorgeous and I loved how the smallest thing was placed in just right and taken out just as delicately; as though it was a passing wind.
I own a second edition of this book; and so it has the most beautiful illustrations every three pages by two different artists.  In the front it stated that the publishers couldn't decide whose art was the best to put in, so they used both as the artwork depicted the storyline the best.  I loved how beautifully etched the drawings were and found that they really did pull the story along well.

Ernest Hemingway was born on 21st July 1899 in Oak Park, a suburb of Chicago, Illinois. He was one of six children. His father, Dr Clarence Edmonds Hemingway was a fervent member of the First Congregational church, his mother, Grace Hall, sang in the church choir. At the age of 17 Hemingway published his first literary work. 
He died aged 61, of self inflicted gun shot wounds. He was the greatest of writers.  There is a lot more to know of Hemmingway on his official site; this little bit was just the summary from the site.

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