Last week’s post was devoted to historical satires. This week we turn our attention to more recent and contemporary satires. Click on the links to read my reviews. If you haven’t done so already you might be interested in signing up to my newsletter (more information at bottom of this post).
Catch-22 by Joseph Heller (1961)
Based on Heller’s own experiences as a bombardier in WWII, this best-selling, satirical, anti-war novel, took its American author eight years to write.
My Review: Set on the Mediterranean island of Pianosa during WWII, Catch-22 is about the exploits of the fictitious 256th Squadron. We follow protagonist Yossarian and his comrades’ farcical attempts…(more)
Subject Satirised: War
Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut (1969)
Slaughterhouse-Five’s anti-war rhetoric has resulted in it being banned from numerous US schools and libraries. This satirical story is about a survivor of the notorious firebombing of Dresden.
My Review: Narrated in a non-linear order, the story follows protagonist Billy Pilgrim’s journey through life. A married optometrist with two children, Billy is a veteran of World War II, and a survivor of the notorious…(more)
Subject Satirised: War
High-Rise by J. G. Ballard (1975)
High-Rise is a tale about how the social order can fragment. Tense, bleak and satirical, it explores the connection between technology and the human condition.
My Review: Set in an apartment tower block in London, High-Rise is a dystopian tale about the intense animosity that develops between the building’s various floors. The story centres around three characters…(more)
Subjects Satirised: Contemporary society & high-rise housing
American Psycho by Bret Easton Ellis (1991)
American Psycho is a satire of the yuppies culture of the 1980s that caused outrage when it was published due to its explicit violent and sexual content. It went on to become a cult classic.
My Review: American Psycho is a highly controversial novel that brought its young author Bret Easton Ellis instant fame. The book is written from the perspective of a young Wall Street financier, Patrick Bateman…(more)
Subject Satirised: 1980s yuppies culture
Invisible Monsters by Chuck Palahniuk (1999)
The book’s premise, the superficial vanity of the beauty industry, is used both to explore the unattractive side of human nature and, in customary Palahniuk fashion, to satirise society.
My Review: Shannon McFarland is a catwalk model, who is the centre of attention wherever she goes. That is until she ‘accidentally’ blasts her jaw shot off with a gun whilst driving down the highway. Shannon is left…(more)
Subjects Satirised: Human nature & the beauty industry
Rant by Chuck Palahniuk (2007)
Rant challenges our own traditions by demonstrating how we contort our recollection of events in accordance with our desires, motives and beliefs. There are obvious parallels with the gospels.
My Review: Rant is the oral history of Buster ‘Rant’ Casey, recounted by an array of people including his relations, friends, enemies and lovers. Rant’s childhood companions from the small rural town where…(more)
Subjects Satirised: Human nature, society & oral history
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