A Book Review of The Old Man and The Wasteland by Nick Cole

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About this sample

About this sample


Words: 859 |

Pages: 2|

5 min read

Published: Oct 22, 2018

Words: 859|Pages: 2|5 min read

Published: Oct 22, 2018

The Old Man and the Wasteland is a novel by Nick Cole. This was the first publication in the series of the Westland saga, among other books in the series been Savage Boy and The Road Is a River. The book was first published on 6th of April 2011. This was the first book by the author. Apart from writing, Nick Cole is an actor. He lives in southern California and has once served in the US army. In his first work The Old Man and the Wasteland, Nick takes the aspect of creative writing to come up with this fiction story. The storyline is based on American society during the ages of civilization. The author combines life experiences with creativity to come up with a story of a salvaging old man in devastating situations. As the book stands out to be a masterpiece in his series of the Westland saga, it seems to have a combination of great ideas, themes and creativity to discover the truth in the story of man versus nature in Hemingway’s classic - The Old Man and the Sea (Hemingway, p.12).

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The Old Man and the Wasteland cannot be analyzed without taking a look at The Old Man and the Sea. This is the story that the author read and got interested in the theme of perseverance, ‘you are not beaten until you decide you are beaten’. (Hemingway, p.22).Nick Cole dates the story back to forty years after nuclear attacks in America. The story takes an old man, a survivor of the war as the main actor. The old man lives in the village of salvagers. Steered by the theme of courage, the Old man takes an adventure to the Westland to salvage for his family. The old ma endures suffering through the deserts, all driven by the quest to counteract his ‘curse’. The story is a post-apocalyptic fiction as it includes the aspect of humanity, morality, and community. The metaphor ‘wasteland’ shows the nature of the world upon destruction by the nuclear war. Just like any other Post-apocalyptic story, The Old Man and the Wasteland depict the theme of epic disasters, with the old man showing the courage and creativity to savage against all odds (Nick, p1-12).

The story begins with the aspect of civilization. It depicts the negative nature of civilization. The use of nuclear weapons, in this case, represents the element of civilization. After the nuclear war, the southwest America has been ruined. The originality of the ‘Westland’ is civilization. This is an imagery to represent the negative nature of civilization and the aspect of modern technology to human life. ‘After the nuclear war in South waste America, human beings are reduced to salvaging the ruins of a broken world’-Nick (2011, p.5). The land is ravaged by destruction. This shows how civilization has brought about suffering to extend where human beings have to struggle to get their basic needs such as food and shelter.

The major aspiration of the old man is to help preserve humanity and fulfill the needs of his community. This drives him to dangerous situations. He is basically traveling to risky situations looking for food to feed his family. The theme of endurance is depicted in the old man’s struggle through the holocaust journeys to unknown places. The old man does not believe in defeat. He struggles against the physical world and his own emotions. At the end of the struggle along the desert wilderness, the old man gets something salvageable for his village. He finally wins through his struggle and gets a boat with fish. This gives hope to every struggle.

Nick Cole depicts elements of Marxism. The whole of the story sounds historical and can be dated back to the Second World War when nuclear weapons were put in use for the first time and brought about massive destruction to property and human life. Social, political and cultural elements behind the scenes seem to be the major causes of these destructions and human suffering. Although the element of Marxism is not depicted clearly in this story, it comes out clearly in later stories within the series of the Westland saga. The story is plotted in a ramshackle village where the old man lives in other villages. This represents a poor economic status of the gives the image of the southwest America during the time, ever since before the bombings. The old man has ever been going out to savage in the wastelands but has never found something useful. The other villagers say he is cursed. This shows how the world has gone mad, and humanity has devolved into the society.

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Although the story creates thoughts of desperation, the old man carries the flame for the society. The old man thoughts of his daughters and the villagers bring hope. At the end of what seems a horrific adventure, he gets a boat with fish, and at this point, the ‘curse’ is reversed. At one point, the old man has got something useful to his village after a long struggle. The story gives a hopeful ending, creating hope for every struggle in life.

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This essay was reviewed by
Dr. Charlotte Jacobson

Cite this Essay

A Book Review of the Old Man and the Wasteland by Nick Cole. (2018, October 22). GradesFixer. Retrieved July 15, 2024, from
“A Book Review of the Old Man and the Wasteland by Nick Cole.” GradesFixer, 22 Oct. 2018,
A Book Review of the Old Man and the Wasteland by Nick Cole. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 15 Jul. 2024].
A Book Review of the Old Man and the Wasteland by Nick Cole [Internet]. GradesFixer. 2018 Oct 22 [cited 2024 Jul 15]. Available from:
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