Let him think that I am more man than I am and I will be so.
“The Old Man and the Sea is a short novel, only 27,000 words. It is much simpler and enormously better than Mr. Hemingway’s last book, Across the River and Into the Trees. No phony glamour girls and no bullying braggarts sentimentalized almost to parody distort its honest and elemental theme. No outbursts of spite or false theatricalism impede the smooth rush of its narrative. Within the sharp restrictions imposed by the very nature of his story Mr. Hemingway has written with sure skill. Here is the master technician once more at the top of his form, doing superbly what he can do better than anyone else.
“The excitement and tension of the old man’s adventure, the magnificence of the great marlin and the beauty of days and nights alone on the Gulf Stream are all well conveyed in The Old Man and the Sea. Mr. Hemingway has always excelled in describing physical adventure and the emotional atmosphere of it. And many of his stories have glorified courage in the face of danger. This one does, too, for the old man is the very embodiment of dogged courage.
“But good as The Old Man and the Sea is, it is good only in a limited way. The fisherman is not a well-characterized individual. He is a symbol of an attitude toward life. He often thinks and talks poetically and symbolically and so artificially.”