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When you think of Ernest Hemingway – journalist, novelist, bullfighting enthusiast – you probably think of the lean, understated prose that defines many American classics.
The first line of the book that helped him win the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1954, “The Old Man and the Sea”, reads like a status report: “It was an old man fishing alone in a skiff in the Gulf Stream and he had gone eighty-four days without catching any fish Dubbed the “iceberg theory” by Hemingway, much of the goosebumps of his novels (their nuances, their themes) are profile below the surface. (For a man who wrote that he overcomes writer’s block by sitting down and writing the truest sentence you know,” that’s not entirely surprising.)
If you’re looking for where to start in the Hemingway canon, know that you can’t really go wrong. After reading the manuscript of “For Whom the Bell Tolls”, famed publisher Maxwell Perkins wrote to Hemingway to say, “If a writer’s function is to reveal reality, no one has ever fully performed it.” And William Faulkner, often considered one of the best American writers of all time, wrote that “time can show [“The Old Man and the Sea”] to be the best unique piece of each of us, I mean his contemporaries and my contemporaries.”
To make diving into Hemingway’s work a little easier, we’ve compiled a ranking of the 10 most popular Hemingway books, according to Goodreads reviews.
The 10 most popular Ernest Hemingway books, according to Goodreads:
Descriptions provided by Amazon and slightly edited for clarity.