Faulkner’s review of Old Man and the Sea
January 27, 2013
I read The Old Man and the Sea over Christmas break–the first of Hemingway’s books I’ve really loved (though I mean to read more of him eventually). I feel that it has something in common with Faulkner’s stories The Old People and The Bear, and with some of Helprin’s in The Pacific. I was delighted to discover that Faulkner admired this little book too, and has some good words for it.
The Old Man and the Sea
By Ernest Hemingway
His best. Time may show it to be the best single piece of any of us, I mean his and my contemporaries. This time, he discovered God, a Creator. Until now, his men and women had made themselves, shaped themselves out of their own clay; their victories and defeats were at the hand of each other, just to prove to themselves or one another how tough they could be. But this time he wrote about pity: about something somewhere that made them all: the old man who had to catch the fish and then lose it, the fish that had to be caught and then lost, the sharks which had to rob the old man of his fish; made them all and loved them all and pitied them all. It’s all right. Praise God that whatever made and loves and pities Hemingway and me kept him from touching it any further.