Paolo Coelho’s Hemingway Reference

I remember my first time reading Hemingway’s classic novella, The Old Man and The Sea. I was captivated by Sebastian, a fascinating character, whose fishing expedition seems to perfectly capture the grace of perseverance, the quiet nobility of struggle, and experience. A tour de force as far as power per capita is concerned, the weight behind the simple language of this short book is nothing if not inspirational.

The old man’s name was Santiago

– The Old Man and the Sea

Paulo Coelho, the famed author of The Alchemist, agrees with me. In fact, the novel that has afforded him international acclaim contains a very clear homage to Hemingway and his book. Have you caught it? In a striking stylistic choice, Hemingway only mentions the name of his character, Sebastian, once. The very first sentence is a declaration of personhood that remains persistent without need to be restated. An elegant move that was adopted by Coelho, whose opening line is:

The boy’s name was Santiago.

– The Alchemist

Its an amazing thing to find such powerful inspiration, especially when the outcome is more beautiful literature.



Featured image courtesy of