Ernest Hemingway took great pride in using an economy of carefully measured words and tightly wrought phrases in his writing. Nominated for Grammy, this recording of The Old Man and Sea is perfect example of Hemingway's precision and is read here in its entirety by Oscar-winning actor Charlton Heston.
A novella, The Old Man and Sea tells the story of an old fisherman, Santiago, and his long lusty struggle isn't so much over one fish, but the act of living--living fully, actively, robustly. Charlton Heston is marvelous in this recording with his voice adding a quality and texture to Hemingway's words that will engage listeners completely.
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