Radical Fiction

Holiday and travel reading for Marxists (with links to the Hive site so you can see the details of these books and then track them down yourself – and earn money for your favourite local high street bookshop):

The Dispossessed by Ursula K Le Guin was written when the Soviet Union still existed, but today this marvellous book by a feminist Taoist is actually more about revolution in Rojava. The planet Anarres is based on Murray Bookchin’s anarchist vision of a non-capitalist society, a vision which animates ‘democratic confederalism’ in the north of Syria today.

HHhH by Laurent Binet is a harrowing but ultimately redemptive historical fictional account about anti-fascist struggle. It is faithful to the real events in Czechoslovakia during the Second World War when Allied agents were parachuted into the country in Operation Anthropoid to assassinate the Nazi butcher Reinhard Heydrich.

The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck is an incredibly prescient novel about capitalist crisis and migration. Set during the 1930s when Oklahoma has turned into a dust bowl and small farmers try to escape to California, it resonates today with the massive human flows across the globe from regions despoiled by the drive for profit.

The Heart Goes Last by Margaret Atwood is a parallel world near future thriller about the inevitable necessary shift from late capitalism into the prison industrial complex. It traces how the marginalised poor are inducted into forms of control, and shows how forms of new technology which promise to augment life actually corrupt it.

Midnight’s Children by Salman Rushdie meshes historical materialism and fantasy in the journey of characters around India and Pakistan post-Partition. The book’s narrative travels around the sub-continent, illuminating different forms of dictatorship in Pakistan, Bangladesh and India, including under Indira Ghandhi, for which the book was banned.

Woman on the Edge of Time by Marge Piercy focuses on the intersections of class oppression, racism and sexism and, crucially, the brutal treatment of those labelled mad when they dare to speak out. An angry and inspiring radical feminist time-shift narrative shifts between life inside mental hospital and liberated space in 2137.

2666 by Chilean Fourth International comrade Roberto Bolaño is an amazing multi-layered magical realist novel grounded in the reality of power and resistance in Latin America. It ranges from colonialist fears of the telepathic powers of the Mapuche to contemporary femicide – systematic murder of women – in Mexico, and much more along the way.

If it is suggestions for non-fiction Marxist reading you want, start here