This book is actually astonishingly short. It’s 99 pages, and boy wasn’t that a surprise to me upon opening the Book Depository envelope! I expected, I suppose because of Hemingway’s reputation and the status of his books as classic literature , that it would be a rather daunting tome. Imagine my delight!
Of course, I then started wondering how on earth a book that is only 99 pages long could possibly have won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction. In 1953, to be exact. Now, because it was a short book, I sat down with my coffee this morning and read it from cover to cover.
Essentially, those 99 pages tell the story of an old fisherman from Cuba, who hooks the fish of all fishes when out on his own after a long streak of bad luck. I don’t want to give too many spoilers, because I really, really want people to read this book themselves. What I will say is that I have never been so emotionally wrung out by such a short work, with such a seemingly simple plot line.
I cried. I was spitting mad toward the end. I was horribly depressed but also absolutely touched and heartbroken by the small happiness’ that the old fisherman clung to. I finished this book in an hour and it was exhausting.
I now want to read more of Hemingway’s works, just to discover if it is him as an author that I love, or if there was just something magical about this particular book.
One thing is for sure, I certainly know why this book won the Pulitzer.
And the Nobel.
I cannot recommend this enough, and if you are looking to start reading more in general, or classic fiction in particular, you absolutely should start with this. I truly believe that you won’t regret it.
The absolutely stunning featured image is by Thomas James, and can be found here.
Disclosure: Some of the links in this post are affiliate links. You absolutely do not have to use them, and I encourage you to read this book regardless of where you get it from!