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The Old Man and the Sea [Audiobook, Unabridged] [Audio CD]

Ernest Hemingway , Donald Sutherland
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (314 customer reviews)

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Book Description

18 Aug 2011
The Old Man and the Sea is one of Hemingway's most enduring works. Told in language of great simplicity and power, it is the story of an old Cuban fisherman, down on his luck, and his supreme ordeal -- a relentless, agonizing battle with a giant marlin far out in the Gulf Stream. Here Hemingway recasts, in strikingly contemporary style, the classic theme of courage in the face of defeat, of personal triumph won from loss. Written in 1952, this hugely successful novella confirmed his power and presence in the literary world and played a large part in his winning the 1954 Nobel Prize for literature.

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Product details

  • Audio CD: 3 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio; Unabridged edition (18 Aug 2011)
  • ISBN-10: 0857204521
  • ISBN-13: 978-0857204523
  • Product Dimensions: 13.2 x 13 x 2.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (314 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 575,169 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Ernest Hemingway was born in 1899. His father was a doctor and he was the second of six children. Their home was at Oak Park, a Chicago suburb.

In 1917, Hemingway joined the Kansas City Star as a cub reporter. The following year, he volunteered as an ambulance driver on the Italian front, where he was badly wounded but decorated for his services. He returned to America in 1919, and married in 1921. In 1922, he reported on the Greco-Turkish war before resigning from journalism to devote himself to fiction. He settled in Paris where he renewed his earlier friendships with such fellow-American expatriates as Ezra Pound and Gertrude Stein. Their encouragement and criticism were to play a valuable part in the formation of his style.

Hemingway's first two published works were Three Stories and Ten Poems and In Our Time but it was the satirical novel, The Torrents of Spring, that established his name more widely. His international reputation was firmly secured by his next three books; Fiesta, Men Without Women and A Farewell to Arms.

He was passionately involved with bullfighting, big-game hunting and deep-sea fishing and his writing reflected this. He visited Spain during the Civil War and described his experiences in the bestseller, For Whom the Bell Tolls.

His direct and deceptively simple style of writing spawned generations of imitators but no equals. Recognition of his position in contemporary literature came in 1954 when he was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature, following the publication of The Old Man and the Sea. He died in 1961.

Product Description

Amazon Review

Here, for a change, is a fish tale that actually does honour to the author. In fact The Old Man and the Sea revived Ernest Hemingway's career, which was foundering under the weight of such post-war stinkers as Across the River and into the Trees. It also led directly to his receipt of the Nobel Prize in 1954 (an award Hemingway gladly accepted, despite his earlier observation that "no son of a bitch that ever won the Nobel Prize ever wrote anything worth reading afterwards"). A half century later, it's still easy to see why. This tale of an aged Cuban fisherman going head-to-head (or hand-to-fin) with a magnificent marlin encapsulates Hemingway's favourite motifs of physical and moral challenge. Yet Santiago is too old and infirm to partake of the gun-toting machismo that disfigured much of the author's later work:
"The brown blotches of the benevolent skin cancer the sun brings from its reflection on the tropic sea were on his cheeks. The blotches ran well down the sides of his face and his hands had the deep-creased scars from handling heavy fish on the cords."
Hemingway's style, too, reverts to those superb snapshots of perception that won him his initial fame:
Just before it was dark, as they passed a great island of Sargasso weed that heaved and swung in the light sea as though the ocean were making love with something under a yellow blanket, his small line was taken by a dolphin. He saw it first when it jumped in the air, true gold in the last of the sun and bending and flapping wildly in the air.
If a younger Hemingway had written this novella, Santiago most likely would have towed the enormous fish back to port and posed for a triumphal photograph--just as the author delighted in doing, circa 1935. Instead his prize gets devoured by a school of sharks. Returning with little more than a skeleton, he takes to his bed and, in the very last line, cements his identification with his creator:
"The old man was dreaming about the lions."
Perhaps there's some allegory of art and experience floating around in there somewhere--but The Old Man and the Sea was, in any case, the last great catch of Hemingway's career. --James Marcus --This text refers to the Paperback edition.


"It is unsurpassed in Hemingway's oeuvre. Every word tells and there is not a word too many" (Anthony Burgess)

"A quite wonderful example of narrative art. The writing is as taut, and at the same time as lithe and cunningly played out, as the line on which the old man plays the fish" (Guardian) --This text refers to the Mass Market Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautifully Crafted Masterpiece 10 Jan 2012
There are enough good reviews here, which leaves me little to add except that this book figures in my top ten favourite reads of all time. I've read it on and off since I was twelve or thirteen (I'm now thirty-seven), and it still never fails to capture the imagination and pull you right into the story. It's a beautifully crafted masterpiece suitable for all ages. Great stuff!
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19 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A master at work 7 May 2011
This isn't the exact copy I have, but it is the closest so it will have to do. If you have never read anything by Hemingway, this might be the best place to start. It is short, simple, and without any of the brutality or serious depressive atmosphere of most of his other books, but it still has the same masterful prose style as everything else he wrote. This has never been one of my favourites of his, but it is wonderful to read, and I think I enjoyed it more this time than any other. Hemingway was one of the very few people in history who really knew how to write. He wrote about what he knew well, and he was able to transfer what he perceived with his keen senses onto the page in such a way that someone completely ignorant of the subject could still see and feel what he was describing. And not only could he describe things so clearly and distinctly, but also so beautifully that through his words there always flows emotion - usually melancholy in nature, it's true, but nonetheless pure, poignant emotion. Most writers would give their right arms to be able to conjure up emotion in such a deceptively simple way, but most will never be able to do it. Cormac McCarthy, I have noticed, tries to write more and more like Hemingway, and does fairly well at it, but he will never surpass the master, and most writers who admire him never even attempt to copy his style. Because what seems so simple is anything but, and another one of his many admirable qualities is that he knew what to leave out as well, which is something almost every author needs to learn better. I think most writers would think that this book needed to be longer, and would have tried to fill it out with non-essential material (more characters, side story, back story, lost love, etc.), which would have taken something away from it rather than adding to it, as he well knew. But enough gushing - simply put, if you haven't read this, you should.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great reading of a great book 13 July 2010
Format:Audio CD
It is a real pleasure when you get a reader who understands the subtleties, symbolisms and themes within a text and conveys these to the reader. Donald Sutherland is Santiago and Manolin both. Thanks to him, I was with Santiago as he first waited, then landed the marlin, then fought a losing battle with the sharks. fantastic reading- exhausting and exhilarating.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A perfect book 13 Jan 2012
I'm going to keep this review directly proportional to the size of this book. The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway is wonderful, brilliant, moving, profound, riveting and noble. It's 100 pages of beautiful, robust writing, where every word counts.

From reading an epic like War and Peace (still ongoing) this was a revelation as an exercise in how to convey so much emotion and meaning with so very few words.

I've read it five times, and it never loses any of it's charm or magic. Hemingway has written some amazing novels; full of powerful, hardy and noble characters, but none for me come close to Santiago the fisherman and his struggle against nature in this lyrical and poetic little book.

I'll say no more. Read this book.
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19 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Subtelty used at Hemingway's staggering best 22 Dec 2001
By A Customer
This novella is not one for the lazy reader. For them it is a story about a man trying to catch a fish off the Cuban coast. However for the thinking reader this book is second to very few I have experienced. Hemingway's theory that "the grace of movement of an iceberg is due to only one eighth of it being above water" has never been more relevant than to this text.
Above the surface an old fisherman, Santiago, befriended by a young bog, Manolin, sets off as usual and catches a Marlin, resulting in a lengthy battle to reel it in. However below the surface is a commentary on masculinity, a common Hemingway theme, and the tragic tale of a man whose once considerable powers have now deserted him, leaving him hungry and alone apart from his apprentice. It doesn't take long to read this book, but it does take a long time to fully appreciate it, and I would advise re-reading it a few times to make sure you get absolutely everything from this tale. Not that this will be a problem, however, I read it three times and each time uncovered some new twist, such is the beauty and subtlety of Hemingway's craft.
The reader gets out of this book what they put it, but if you put in the time you will be left with a truly memorable read that you will definitely want to return to in the future.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Lyrical. You'll be glad you read it 23 Mar 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
What a beautifully written tale, so fresh and clean. Read it in one sitting if you can - it's not very long.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
My first book of Hemingway and I came in with high expectations given Hemingway's recognised literary prowess. The book did not disappoint at all. The simplicity of its writing prompts, and even forces the reader to search for the deeper hidden messaging which starts to become apparent mid-way through this gripping story about a fisherman one of his trips out at sea fishing. The powerful writing style keeps you drawing parallels with a number of life lessons. All in all - a quick read, gripping and emotive throughout, and provokes serious thought.

PS: There is also a nice essay about the book - "Confiteor Hominem: Ernest Hemingway's Religion of Man" that I recommend once you have finished reading the book and taking it in through your own lenses.
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