Gilly Reads

Top Five Dystopian Novels

on books, book recommendation, top five, dystopian, Never Let Me Go, Kazou Ishiguro, How I Live Now, Meg Rosoff, The Swan Book, Alexis Wright, The Road, Cormac McCarthy, Tomorrow When the War Began, John Marsden, recommendations

dystopian

As an undergrad I took a class called Utopian and Dystopian Visions, which ended up being one of my favourite classes in my degree. Not only was it taught by an excellent lecturer but it covered a range of exceptional texts, and the theory and history behind these kinds of stories are hugely interesting to me.

What I particularly like in dystopian fiction is the way it is used to re-imagine the way society might work in different conditions and the ways individuals respond to this. I find this often enables very powerful and intense writing, and can provoke much emotion and thought throughout the reading experience. I enjoy a lot of different dystopian stories, including the (somewhat overdone) YA dystopian trilogies from the last few years. This list focuses on stories that particularly struck me and have continued to resonate with me since I read them. I cried a lot during each of these.

Never Let Me Go by Kazou Ishiguro

I read Never Let Me Go at university and immediately loved it. Ishiguro is an amazing writer, and Never Let Me Go is a powerful book, not only because of the literary skill but the story.

How I Live Now by Meg Rosoff

In college I discovered Meg Rosoff and quickly read everything I could find. How I Live Now was the first and it remains my favourite. It is the kind of story that gets stuck inside you and won't let go.

The Swan Book by Alexis Wright

This is the most recent read of the list, and probably my favourite. It blew my mind. Alexis Wright is an author I cannot recommend enough, and The Swan Book is and incredible imagining of what Australia might look like if it continues on its current path.

The Road by Cormac McCarthy

The Road is a book I didn't think I wanted to read, and I didn't exactly enjoy reading it. It is horrifying and depressing, compelling and intensely heart-wrenching. I could hardly bear to keep reading and yet could not put it down.

Tomorrow When The War Began series by John Marsden

Like most Australian teenagers, I sped through the Tomorrow series in high school. While I haven't read it in many years, it is a series that really struck me. Not only was the plot and characterization interesting and intriguing but it caused me to think a lot about what I would do in such a situation, and why.

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