Finished The Handmaid’s Tale and wondering what to read next? Here are five dystopian classics to take you from one dark world into another
No book aside from 1984 so dominates the mind as Brave New World when discussing dystopian fiction. The year is 2540 (632 After Ford), and London’s citizens have never been happier. The populace is dosed with the drug soma, an antidepressant and hallucinogenic. Bernard, dissatisfied and neurotic in a society in which everyone should be happy, brings John, a ‘savage’ from New Mexico, to London.
Sceptical of what he saw as an ongoing Americanisation of the United Kingdom and an increasing tendency towards seeking solace in consumerism, Huxley’s short novel remains extremely relevant.
Listen to me, will you — these are facts.
Philip Roth’s 2004 historical fiction reimagines America during the Second World War: what if, instead of electing the Democrat Franklin D. Roosevelt, America chose Charles Lindbergh, aviation hero and anti-Semite? In this blistering novel, Philip Roth traces the divisions wrought upon a Jewish family sharing his name and the names of his immediate family members.
The Plot Against America is a masterpiece and a great starting point for anyone interested in reading Roth.
Margaret Atwood’s Hag-Seed, part of the Hogarth Shakespeare series, is a contemporary retelling of Shakespeare’s The Tempest. Revenge and illusion abound, but, removed from Prospero’s island, Felix, once Artistic Director of a prestigious theatre company, grasps an opportunity for vindication presented by the opportunity to lead a prison theatre course.
Exuberant, tightly-written and packed with humour, Hag-Seed offers many surprises on its journey to a very dark climax.
She twists something quite deep inside her chest, as if she’d always known how to do it.
One day in the future – it could even be tomorrow – women will discover they have a life-changing power: the ability to injure, even kill, with the flick of a wrist. What happens next?
Winner of the 2017 Baileys womens prize for fiction, The Power is recommended reading for anyone seeking a fresh, unexpected, and highly readable novel.
One day you hear a droplet falling in the silence–and you can hear it again now ...
A significant influence on both George Orwell’s 1984 and Huxley’s Brave New World, Yevgeny Zamyatin’s classic novel sketches the stable society of One State. Written in 1921 but suppressed in Russia until 1988, We follows the mathematician D-503, who, as part of One State, has sacrificed individual freedom for the collective good. D-503 is a seamless part of society’s machinery until, through the course of writing his journals, he discovers something shocking: he has a soul, an ‘incurable’ soul.