Ernest Hemingway’s last published work, The Old Man & the Sea, recounts a fisherman’s heroic endeavor in fishing an oversize marlin after eighty-four days of unsuccessful fishing efforts.

It sets its time in Cuba, with Santiago, a fisher and an American baseball fanatic, as the protagonist figure. Santiago’s life revolves around newspapers, sun-burnt skin, coffee and the ocean. His condition would have no meaning other than his besieged heart, fervor and commitment to his occupation as a fisherman.

He is often visited by Manolin, a youngster who admires the old man and joins him whenever he sails. After proving idle to the people in town and other fisherman, Santiago is unable to sail with Manolin under his parents’ deterrence, so he sets on a journey to decidedly pull a fish out of the water. He encounters an immense marlin, and must bear with extreme impediments on his way back to shore, which will put to test what he and his heart are really made of.

Hemingway’s writing is most simple in this piece but highly symbolic. It hits the reader hard with ease, lean subtlety and a message laid underneath. It seems more of an extended short story other than an actual novel, considerably categorized as a novella instead. Just like Hemingway’s previous work, The Old Man & the Sea is not an ‘in your face’ sort of narrative, but does its job as a philosophical insight enhancer for the reader.

The book premise is touching and relatable, in the sense one can be seen in similar situations in a different context, for example, divergence, nuisance and desolation. It is a vivid representation of what men are capable of, if they really put their heart on their deeds; it reaffirms men are able to achieve more than they can possibly imagine. It is a bright account of the struggles of the human condition, highlighting will power, passion, honor, endurance, perseverance, dedication and both faith and belief, at a stumble upon furthermost despair.

It is a thrilling narrative, which makes one reflect and realize about the nature of humanity and how determined and devoted men can be under the right circumstances and the right decisions. It is most inspiring and optimistic.

Awarded the Pulitzer Prize in 1952, Hemingway’s last print is an instant treasured classic.

★★★★★

C.Perez