fiction

Last exit to Brooklyn - Hubert Selby Jr.

Film adaptation directed by Uli Edel

Series of stories set in 1950s Brooklyn; a local union official struggles with his sexuality during a strike, a sex worker trawls the bars for sailors and steals their money, and a crossdresser is thrown out of her home. Trigger warning, features a rape passage.

Jailbird - Kurt Vonnegut

Down by Law directed by Jim Jarmusch

Story of a man recently released from prison after serving time for his role in the Watergate scandal, while discussing the history of the American labour movement, political system and the 'Red Scare' of the late 1950s.

Slaughterhouse-five - Kurt Vonnegut

Film adaptation directed by George Roy Hill

Vonnegut's darkly humourous novel recounting the story of an ill-prepared soldier and the grim reality of the Second World War.

Manituana - Wu Ming

Thayendanegea or Joseph Brant

Fantastically researched historical fiction about the Iroquois, a group of native American tribes who side with the British during the American war in independence.

Anagrams - Lorrie Moore

Benna leads different lives, English teacher, nightclub singer, aerobics instructor. She's a mother and she's never had children. The stories and settings shift around but all are a darkly comic look at being a 30 something woman in America.

Ham on rye - Charles Bukowski

Semi-autobiographical 'coming-of-age' novel, telling the story of a young man growing up in Los Angeles during the Great Depression.

Mo said she was quirky - James Kelman

Helen's on her way back from work when she sees a homeless man that reminds her of her long lost brother and sends her into a reverie. 24 hours following the thoughts of a mother, a girlfriend and a croupier.

The loneliness of the long distance runner - Alan Sillitoe

Short story about a teenager from a blue-collar area of Nottingham with bleak prospects who turns to long-distance running to escape both emotionally and physically from his situation.

Omon Ra - Victor Pelevin

Omon Krivomazov has always wanted to be an astronaut but not everything is as it seems in the USSR's space program; cosmonauting dead dogs, bikes on the moon and no way out but up.

Working class literature: reading guide

POUM members reading during the Spanish Civil War.

Libcom.org's reading guide on literature with a focus on work and accurate representations of working class life, culture and resistance to power.