Ernest Hemingway is certainly a writer who splits the camp into those who love him and those who cannot abide him, and while he as a person may have held some questionable views I have to place myself firmly in the camp of those who love his writing and especially this book.
This book relates the battle against age, nature and reflects the way that society many times fails to recognised the contribution that the older members can make in terms of knowledge. The story is almost two stories run on parallel lines, the first that of the relationship between the old and the young and the way that the young boy is encouraged by others to abandon his elderly mentor for the chance of profit. The second part and the one which resonates even more with me is the battle between man and nature. While it is most definitely a fight there is respect there for the ocean which provides, a respect for all the creatures that dwell beneath, even those who seek to deny the man his prize or that he must kill in order to pursue his goal.
Both stories are wonderfully crafted and balanced to draw you in and make you feel the sun beating down on your back, the burn as the rope drags across the old man’s palm. You find yourself rooting for him, hoping that he will defy the odds and return safe to harbour. I have read several Hemingway books and this is by far one of the easiest and most accessible and is the perfect introduction to his writing and is a short novel so perfect for sitting and reading in one or two sessions.
Stars out of 5? 5 without a shadow of a doubt.