BOOK CLUB! The Old Man and the Sea.
Posted By Jason – 12.12.2012
Hemingway is the writer most other writers cite as their main source of inspiration. I don’t get it. I’ve tried to catch the Hemingway bug, but it wont come near me. For Whom the Bell Tolls did my head in, A Farewell to Arms made me want to punch myself, and A Moveable Feast bored me till my nose bled. The Old Man and the Sea is about the only book of his that I can actually get through without becoming annoyed; but I’m not sure why: it’s kind of annoying.
It tells the story of Santiago, a Cuban fisherman who hasn’t caught a fish in months. One day he goes out and hooks a huge marlin, which he then brings along side his boat and attempts to take back to shore. Then some sharks come along and start eating it. Santiago stabs at the sharks with a harpoon killing five of them, but it’s to late, the marlin is devoured and the only proof of its capture is the backbone, tail and head. The end. There’s an allegory in there somewhere but I have no idea what it is.
The Old Man and the Sea is a simple, breezy read, and there are some wonderful passages that you’ll reread for sheer pleasure–which is great, but nothing really happens, and that’s what irks me so much. I think my main problem with Hemingway’s work is glory and his obsession with glory. Whether it’s the glory of hunting, the glory of war, or the glory of being a man, Hemingway is always on about it. I personally don’t see any glory in those things. Hemingway and his depiction of masculinity can take a long, hard, lip-chapping toke on my ever-luvin’ balls. His great-granddaughter, on the other hand, can call me on 646 200 2705.
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