Lately, the real world seems to be getting worryingly more similar to the ones portrayed in some dystopian novels, and my desire to read books from that genre is also increasing. By showing a regression of political, environmental, economic or social standards, they draw attention to real-world issues that should concern us all.
I haven’t read many dystopian novels, but I quite enjoyed the vast majority of them. There is something strangely appealing about reading a book that focuses on a community being plagued by an undesirable and frightening state of affairs. Today I reveal my three favourite dystopian novels, all delving into different types of societies.
1984 by George Orwell
1984 takes place during a time of perpetual war, government surveillance and public manipulation. Power is in the hands of a single party, which is personified by the Big Brother. The protagonist of the novel, Winston Smith, works for the Ministry of Truth as a rewriter of historical events. He has an affair with Julia, who shares his animosity towards the Party.
This dystopian novel takes the reader to the Republic of Gilead, a totalitarian, repressive and puritanical state established in the United States. To overcome a problem of infertility, some women, known as the Handmaids, are used by men who are part of the elite for breeding purposes. It focuses on many important themes, including equality, lack of freedom, love, feminism and women’s agency.
Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel
Station Eleven tells the story of five interconnected people: an actor, the man who tried to save him, the actor’s first wife, his oldest friend, and a young actress who is part of the Traveling Symphony. The plot moves back and forth in time, before and after the spread of a deadly virus. Although it can be considered mainly as a post-apocalyptic novel, Station Eleven also has a dystopian strand, since it presents the undesirable society resulting from the dissemination of the virus, while being an interesting character study.
What are your favourite dystopian books? Tell me in the comments!