Check: #74 (Modern Library's list of 100 best novels of the 20th century), A Farewell to Arms, by Ernest Hemingway.
Hated it much less than I expected to; actually, quite liked the writing and the story both. Bleak, honest. Would have liked to drink grappa with Henry and muse about life, its meaninglessness, wisdom, and hookers.
Quotes that caught me in the gut:
"'..you're too brave. Nothing ever happens to the brave.'
'They die of course.'
'But only once.'
'I don't know. Who said that?'
'The coward dies a thousand deaths, the brave but one?'
'Of course. Who said it?'
'I don't know.'
'He was probably a coward,' she said. 'He knew a great deal about cowards but nothing about the brave. The brave dies perhaps two thousand deaths if he's intelligent. He simply doesn't mention them.'"
"You could not go back. If you did not go forward what happened?"
"I know that the night is not the same as the day: that all things are different, that the things of the night cannot be explained in the day, because they do not then exist, and the night can be a dreadful time for lonely people once their loneliness has started."
"If people bring so much courage to this world the world has to kill them to break them, so of course it kills them. The world breaks every one and afterward many are strong at the broken places. But those that will not break it kills. It kills the very good and the very gentle and the very brave impartially. If you are none of these you can be sure it will kill you too but there will be no special hurry."
And, proof that Hemingway may be a great novelist, but not a great grammarian:
"We passed a long column of loaded mules, the drivers walking along beside the mules wearing fezes." (Strike my previous comment, of course, if the mules were indeed the ones doffing headwear.)