Modern Classics: Literature be it fiction, non-fiction, or sci-fi always managed to stand out with a few sets of books on the throne as the definition of each century. These books talk about every modern theme you could think of – politics, love, relationships, trauma, and more. They are prophetic, startling, and thought-provoking in every way. In this article, we are going to read about the 10 modern classics published after 1980.
10 Modern Classics Published After 1980
- Schindler’s List by Thomas Keneally
- The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
- Atonement by Ian McEwan
- Beloved by Toni Morrison
- The Color Purple by Alice Walker
- Life of Pi by Yann Martel
- The English Patient by Michael Ondaatje
- Outlander by Diana Gabaldon
- The Giver by Lois Lowry
- The Sympathizer by Viet Thanh Nguyen
Schindler’s List by Thomas Keneally
This non-fiction novel based on history is about Oskar Schindler. Oskar grew up in the shadow of Auschwitz as a flamboyant German industrialist. He was a bon vivant, heavy drinker, and womanizer. However, to the Jews he became a survivor; he risked his life to save the Jews from Nazi-occupied Poland.
The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
The novel focuses on Offred, a handmaid in the Republic of Gilead, and through her exhibits several provocative notions. In this Republic women are prohibited from reading, getting a job, and forming friendships. In this fictional dystopian novel women especially the handmaid are portrayed as living beings whose only purpose is to get pregnant. The book also showcases a past when women were free and happy.
Atonement by Ian McEwan
In the summer of 1935, 13-year-old Briony witnesses the flirtation between the son of a servant, Robbie Turner, and her older sister, Cecilia. However, Briony’s incomplete grasp of adulthood will bring about an accident that will completely alter everyone’s lives. This novel by Ian McEwan deals with war, class, love, childhood, guilt, and forgiveness.
Beloved by Toni Morrison
Toni Morrison’s Beloved deals with a woman named Sethe who is haunted by her history. She was born a slave and escaped to Ohio. Though it’s been eighteen years, she is still not completely free. She is still attached to the memories of her Sweet Home. This home is haunted by the destructive and angry ghost of Sethe’s baby. The baby died without a name and the tombstone is engraved with only one word – Beloved.
The Color Purple by Alice Walker
The Color Purple is one of the major works of modern American literature. It explores the lives of African American women during the early twentieth century in rural Georgia. Albeit separated at a very young age, sisters Celie and Nettie kept their loyalty and hope in each other. Through letters, to god and between the sisters, the novel draws on the life of not only the sisters but two other women Sofia and Shug Avery. The book is beautifully written with deep compassion, narrating pain, struggle, hardship, domestic and sexual abuse, bravery, and companionship.
Life of Pi by Yann Martel
This 2001 published novel focuses on a Tamil boy Piscine Molitor or Pi. Pi is from Pondicherry. He gets familiar with some sensitive issues such as practicality and spirituality from an early age. The story is about his survival of 227 days after a shipwreck while stranded in a boat in the Pacific Ocean. However, he was not alone; he was accompanied by Richard Parker, a Bengal tiger.
The English Patient by Michael Ondaatje
The English Patient follows different people united at an Italian villa during the Italian Campaign of the Second World War. It revolves around four characters – a Canadian thief, an unidentifiable burned man, s Sikh-British Army sapper, and an eponymous patient who is presumed to be English. The main plot of the story occurs during the North African Campaign and focuses on the incremental exposures of the patient’s actions before injures and the emotional effects of these exposures on the other roles of the story.
Outlander by Diana Gabaldon
1945 – Claire Randall is a former combat nurse. She has returned from the war and reunited with her spouse when she stumbles upon a standing stone in one of the old circles that dot the British Isles. And suddenly now she is an Outlander or Sassenach in Scotland in 1743. Claire is utterly perplexed by her present situation where she got tossed back in time by forces she is unable to comprehend. Claire is hurled into the intrigues of spies and lairds that may terrorize her life, and destroy her heart. She will get stuck between desire and fidelity, between two entirely different men in two conflicting worlds.
The Giver by Lois Lowry
“We gained control of many things. But we had to let go of others.” This haunting story focuses on Jonas, a twelve-year-old boy, who lives in an ideal, colorless, world of contentment and conventionality. Jonas’s life alters when he received a life assignment as the Receiver of Memory. He starts to comprehend the complex and dark secrets of his fragile community.
The Sympathizer by Viet Thanh Nguyen
The Sympathizer explores a life between two different worlds and analyzes the Vietnamese War in films, literature, and the wars that occur in today’s world. It deals with the Vietnamese War and its aftermath. This novel has everything, from extreme politics, trauma, and spying, to love. It revolves around a captain who was brought up by a Vietnamese mother and an absent French father. He went to university in America, however, came back to Vietnam to fight for the Communist cause.