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Book Ramblings

Long winded reviews

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Kiln People
Beth Meacham, David Brin

The Old Man and the Sea

The Old Man and the Sea - Ernest Hemingway I love the short classics, practically instant lit cred! Still, even the short ones can be hell to get through if you don't care for them. Joseph Conrad’s [b:Heart of Darkness|117837|Heart of Darkness|Joseph Conrad|https://d.gr-assets.com/books/1317686353s/117837.jpg|2877220] is a case in point, it was a titanic struggle for me to get through and you won't find my review of it because I don't have the temerity to dis a classic. They have been around all this time and will still be around long after I have shuffled off the ol’ mortal coils. It is basically like sometime good food doesn't agree with me.

Now what was I reviewing before I started rambling? Oh yeah, The Old Man and the Sea. On the face of it this seems like a simple story of Santiago, an old fisherman going out into the sea in his little skiff, encountering a mega fish of XXL proportions and goes off chasing as if he is channeling Captain Ahab. He manages to hook the fish only to find that it is piscine equivalent of Arnold Schwarzenegger when it begins to drag him and his skiff far out into the sea for days. Quite a lot happen after that but I will leave it for you to find out for yourself, it really is quite a ripping yarn.

The plot is just the surface of it though, you can read it through in a couple of hours and have a pretty good time with it. However, to get the most out of it you would have to think about what it all means, the themes the motifs the symbolism and whatnot. The themes about man’s indomitable will, man against nature, obsession, loyalty etc. are fairly evident, but the religious themes, motifs, and other allegorical subtexts are more profound and I had to look up online analyses to fully appreciate them.

There are only a couple of characters in the book (excluding the fish). Beside old Santiago there is the loyal and good hearted boy Manolin who appears at the beginning and the end of the novella, he is the most compassionate character in the story and is possibly the heart of the book. Santiago himself is very believable though he becomes a little eccentric when he is alone at sea. He even gives the phrase “talk to the hand” a new meaning.

The reading experience is wonderful though, the powerful narrative is absorbing and atmospheric. I was listening to this in audio book format while commuting to work (an hour journey) and for a while I felt like I was peacefully alone at sea instead of stuck in traffic. Definitely a book I will be rereading in future – several times.

Note: I actually found the audio book on Youtube, I am not sure about the copy right aspect of it so I won’t provide a link. If you are interested just search for “The Old Man and the Sea - Narrated by Charlton Heston”. Yes, Charlton Heston! I half expected him to part the sea and drag the fish out by hand but that is a different book I guess.

Art work by RHADS on Deviant Arts