Nelson DeMille is the author of 12 best-selling novels, including Up Country and Plum Island. His newest thriller, Night Fall, will be published later this month.
1984 by George Orwell (Signet, $8). The actual year has come and gone without Big Brother appearing, but this dark look into the future still has the power to dampen any optimism you may harbor. Great writing.
Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand (Signet, $9). Another dystopian novel, and like 1984, it’s not portraying a bright future. More scary is that some of what Rand predicts is coming true: the ascendancy of mediocrity, bureaucracy, and stupidity. The writing is turgid, but the message is clear.
Subscribe to The Week
Escape your echo chamber. Get the facts behind the news, plus analysis from multiple perspectives.
Brave New World by Aldous Huxley (Perennial, $13). Another classic dystopian novel—I guess I like these—in which the world has achieved a state of utopia, which is not so utopian after all; this is a world of shallow thought, moral weightlessness, and material abundance. Not as frightening as 1984 or Atlas Shrugged, but this is a different kind of hell.
The Lord of the Flies by William Golding (Penguin, $14). Another bleak future. The world has apparently experienced an atomic war, and Piggy and his young prep school pals are stranded on an unnamed island, forgetting their manners. A brilliant look at the rapid breakdown of civilized behavior.
The Magus by John Fowles (Back Bay, $17). It’s hard to say what impressed me the most—Fowles’ writing, the book’s plot, or the premise, which is a little off-the-wall. The result, however, is a mesmerizing tale that is as entertaining as it is thought provoking. The novel was first published in 1966, and Fowles revised it in 1976. Read the original if you can find it.
Of Human Bondage
Continue reading for free
We hope you're enjoying The Week's refreshingly open-minded journalism.
Subscribed to The Week? Register your account with the same email as your subscription.