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Book recommendations - multiple narrators/set against a large political backdrop

(36 Posts)
Kai1977 Wed 15-Jul-15 13:14:51


I'm looking for two types of books (mainly because I love reading, but also because I'm in the process of writing my first novel and want to get some idea of how to tackle things). Can you recommend any great books that fall into these categories please?

1) Books with multiple narrators, for example, Half of a Yellow Sun

2) Books set against a vast political landscape (UK or abroad), for example, Midnight's Children?

Ideally literary fiction but happy with well written genre fiction too.


HumpheadWrasse Wed 15-Jul-15 13:18:13

The Northern Clemency might be worth a try

HumpheadWrasse Wed 15-Jul-15 13:20:42

or a bit smaller in scope, but I liked Instructions for a Heatwave by Maggie O'Farrell.

scandichick Wed 15-Jul-15 13:24:20

World War Z actually fits both categories, don't be put off by the zombies. I was impressed by how well the concept was executed.

CoteDAzur Wed 15-Jul-15 22:28:39

Books with multiple narrators:
- Cloud Atlas
- My Name Is Red

Books set against a vast political landscape:
- Cloud Atlas
- 1984

FaintlyMacabre Wed 15-Jul-15 22:31:02

A Suitable Boy

TheAwfulDaughter Wed 15-Jul-15 22:34:12

Message deleted by MNHQ. Here's a link to our Talk Guidelines.

eurochick Wed 15-Jul-15 22:35:47

I came on to say A Suitable Boy but have been beaten to it!

DontDrinkAndFacebook Wed 15-Jul-15 22:38:43

Book of human skin has multiple narrators.

WeSailTonightForSingapore Wed 15-Jul-15 22:44:33

Political landscape -
- American pastoral by Philip Roth

applecatchers36 Wed 15-Jul-15 22:48:09

Multiple narrators - the Lovley Bones, Alice Sebold
Books set against a vast political landscape - Wild Swans, Jung Chang

Sgtmajormummy Wed 15-Jul-15 22:58:27

Have you read White Teeth by Zadie Smith?

AnneOfAramis Wed 15-Jul-15 23:09:02

Louis de Berniere's books all have superbly executed political landscapes and multiple narrators.

antimatter Wed 15-Jul-15 23:11:45

The Luminaries for your first category

Sgtmajormummy Thu 16-Jul-15 08:24:53

Sorry for dumping and running on my last post, bedtime was approaching!

I've decided to take White Teeth as holiday reading this year because, although it was a contemporary novel when it first came out (15? years ago), it explores a lot of social themes which have escalated today. It will be my third time of reading it.

highlandcoo Thu 16-Jul-15 08:56:54

English Passengers by Matthew Kneale is a fantastic example of multiple narrators - loads of them but each person's voice is unique.

will be back with more thoughts

LondonZoo Thu 16-Jul-15 11:57:17

Hasn't Captain Corelli's Mandolin more than one narrator.

For vast political landscape then any of the great Russians, or Hugo?

AnneOfAramis Thu 16-Jul-15 12:46:31

LondonZoo - yes it does. Almost all his books do. I love them.

Kai1977 Thu 16-Jul-15 13:41:36

Thanks all, some great suggestions here. I've read a fair few of those suggested but may have a re-read of White Teeth, Cloud Atlas and Captain Correlli. There are also new books that I'll definitely check out. Please do keep them coming!

Emily2608 Thu 16-Jul-15 20:25:29

I'm not the religious type at all but recently I've read the most amazing book on Amazon called ancient translations from genesis to Deuteronomy being 100 pounds I was put off but it's the best 100 I've EVER SPENT over totally re evaluated my life and parenting. I cannot recommend enough

highlandcoo Thu 16-Jul-15 21:55:08

You could also look at Cutting For Stone by Abraham Verghese, and The Glass Palace by Amitav Ghosh. Great insights into political change in Ethiopia and Burma respectively.

And A Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry. Which divides opinions here on MN - I rate it as excellent and looking forward to rereading it for the second time later this year. Deals with the Emergency in Bombay late 70s/early 80s.

anyquestions Sat 18-Jul-15 00:05:41

Surprised no one has mentioned the Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver. It's a while since I read it, but doesn't that tick both boxes?

marchduck Sat 18-Jul-15 19:59:31

Might be worth looking at 2666 by Roberto Bolano. It has five parts which link together. I couldn't stop thinking about it after I had finished it.

yesbutnobut Sat 18-Jul-15 20:06:35

Also by AMitov Ghosh - the Sea of Poppies (it's a trilogy about the opium wars)

grendel Thu 23-Jul-15 13:16:10

What about a Place of Greater Safety by Hilary Mantel? Huge political landscape of the French revolution and includes all the main players. Read this book years ago and absolutely loved it.

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