The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway
From the cover:
The Old Man and the Sea is one of Hemingway’s most enduring works. Told in language of great simplicity and power, it is the story of an old Cuban fisherman, down on his luck, and his supreme ordeal – a relentless, agonizing battle with a giant marlin far out in the Gulf Stream. Here Hemingway recasts, in striking contemporary style, the classic theme of courage in the face of defeat, of personal triumph won from loss. Written in 1952, this hugely successful novella confirmed his power and presence in the literary world and played a large part in his winning the 1954 Nobel Prize for literature.
I was prepared to dislike this book. Most of the people I know are not Hemingway fans and 120 pages about catching a fish just didn’t sound that great. I was suprised that I actually enjoyed it. I liked the writing style, you feel the old man’s struggle, his hope, his worries, his love of the fish he is going to kill. You can see the details of his hands, of the fish and the water. You know how important this is for him. Granted, the sharks devour his marlin, but he does arrive back at port with the skeleton, proof of what he accomplished. Thank heavens for the boy, who would take care of him, fish or no fish, and discuss baseball with him in the cool evening. The story is full of symbolism, but I think what you get out of it will vary depending on where you are at in your own life.
I think it says something that my husband, who is not a reader, remembered this story, plot and all, when I mentioned it to him.