Fish story

The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway

3 words: somber, melancholy, empathetic

I’ve always wanted to like Hemingway, but have never gotten there till now.

And the only reason I read (listened to) The Old Man and the Sea is because Book Bingo made me do it. (Hello, “Embarrassed to Admit” [I’d never read it])

And then I strapped myself in for the ride. (Literally. I listened to this audiobook in my car, so: seatbelt.)

It was surprisingly eventful, the experience of reading this book. I was stunned by my emotional engagement with the thing.

It started with the narrator.

Donald Sutherland.

I just don’t like ’im.

He’s lispy when he talks, and I don’t like the way he looks, either (not that that has any bearing here; I’m just being petty).

So I began listening in a state of mild annoyance, because: The Donald.

But then the story took over, and I (sorta) got past the voice.

And I was truly surprised by the way I was rooting for the old man, yearning for him to catch that fish. I was actually leaning forward in my seat, urging the fish to be caught.

But then I slumped back, as Hemingway described the way the fish’s mate would trail along as the fish died on the line. The fish’s mate would mourn the loss. (Who knew?)

So then I was all mixed emotions.

And that made me delighted, because: how many books can do that?

So I was left marveling at Hemingway’s enormous sympathy for the characters he had created, but also marveling at his easy brutality toward them. Made me realize why he’s considered one of the greats. I get it now.

Bonus: Book’s available in an adorable little edition in a sardine can

 

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