If I am asked to choose the book which I like most, I would go for the novel ‘the old man and the sea,’ written by the world-renowned novelist ‘Ernest Hemingway’ (1899-1961).
Hemingway was a highly successful, prolific, U.S. writer of international fame and his novel in question was awarded the coveted Nobel Prize for Literature in 1954. ‘The Old Man and the Sea’, was, actually, brought out in 1952.
Naturally and undisputedly, a masterpiece of Hemingway, ‘The Old Man and the Sea’ is a beautiful description of the changing phases in the life of a man. It brings to the mind how the behaviour of acquaintances, friends, Nations and co-workers of a man undergoes a sea change with the drifting of a phase in life.
The main character in the novel is an old fisherman, facing the loss of his lost vigour with great patience and fortitude. An expert master fisherman in his hay days, the old man had, in his by-gone days, trained a number of aspiring young men in baiting and catching fish.
They had all learnt venturing out into the sea and fight against the ebb and flow of tides under his expert guidance. They not only admired him for his great skill and courage; but heaped upon him praises for his daring nature and tact time and again. He had become a living legend for them.
But the time changed in the autumn of his life. He was considered a spent-force and was not in a position to catch any fish on a regular basis even for his own survival. There were no admirers left and the one-time hero had become almost a forgotten story. There were times, when he had to survive on charity of others.
However, the old man did not give up easily. He remained firm and unyielding and continued trying his luck with his not till the last moment. He proved himself a brave, struggling fighter. He accepted his fate not in despair but with courage and determination. One day he succeeded in catching a giant marlin; but was not in a position to pull it out. The result was that the catch was eaten by sharks.
Besides the story and the over-all plot of the novel, the style of narration and the language are also highly impressive. Hemingway is nowhere bombastic or Johnsonian in the novel On the contrary, his style is greatly forceful with simple and easy-to-understand sentences, having few confusing adverbs or adjectives. This is why ‘The old man and the sea’ is the only book I have liked most.