The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway (1952)Read about the other entries on the list.
“Everything about him was old except his eyes and they were the same colour as the sea and were cheerful and undefeated.” How can we not cheer on Santiago, the luckless fisherman, 84 days without a catch, who on day 85 hooks the huge marlin far off the coast of Cuba? Hemingway was only in his early 50s when he wrote the novel, but it’s tempting to read his own plight – poor health, writer’s block, a spate of vicious reviews – in to that of the struggling Santiago. Luckily, The Old Man and the Sea turned out to be Hemingway’s literary marlin. He then landed the Pulitzer and, in 1954, the Nobel prize.
The Old Man and the Sea is among Jeff Somers's top ten books to read before traveling to Cuba, four books that changed Angelica Banks, Leo Benedictus's five best books for men who never read, Jung Chang's 6 favorite books, Kathryn Williams's thirteen best stories about pride, Scott Greenstone's twenty best books with fewer than 200 pages, Michael Palin's six favorite books, Robson Green's six best books, and Dave Boling's five best examples of how to structure a novel. N.M. Kelby has suggested that The Old Man and the Sea may be The Great Florida Novel.