Top positive review
Hemingway's final novel
Reviewed in the United States on August 2, 2020
In this very short novel (my copy spanned fewer than 90 pages), Hemingway tells the story of an old Cuban fisherman and his young apprentice. Thwarted by 84 days of unsuccessful fishing trips, the old man's embarrassment is exacerbated by the boy's parents forbidding him from fishing with the salao--extremely unlucky man.
On the 85th day, he proceeds alone in his skiff far out into the gulf stream where, at noon, he snags a large fish which he assumes to be a marlin. He struggles for two days to land the fish as he is dragged by it further out to sea, becoming injured, dehydrated, and nearly delusional by the time he lands the incredible fish.
Forced to tie it alongside for the journey home, it is progressively eaten by sharks, until only a carcass remains when he returns to port in the middle of the night.
The boy finds him asleep the next morning and tends to his needs while the townsfolk both marvel at the fish's great size and the man's misfortune in failing to bring it home intact.
A tale of man's struggle against both nature and his own limitations.