Despite a long and varied literate life, I somehow made it to 2010 without having ever read Hemingway, even compulsory high-school Hemingway. Intimidated by his bravado and bullfighting, I steered clear of ol' Papa. It only hit me a few months ago, after reading The Old Man and the Sea
for the first time, to resounding effect, that I'd been seriously missing out. The Old Man and the Sea
now numbers among one of my all-time favorites. Simply told, and with graceful humility, this novella is as immense and riveting a force as the great marlin Santiago must face. Looking out at the ocean on a clear day, you can look at the sea and just see blue water and waves, rolling up or rolling down — a lovely story in itself — or you can see, blinking from the horizon, the largeness of the world reflected back at you in a boat the size of a dime. I am exceedingly grateful to the fates that Hemingway had "luck" enough to see both.
"The luck was that I had a good man and a good boy and lately writers have forgotten there still are such things. Then the ocean is worth writing about just as man is. So I was lucky there." —Ernest Hemingway, in a Paris Review interview