fiction

On working class fiction

Detail from the cover of Robert Tressell's The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists

In this essay from 2011, novelist DD Johnston presents a communist analysis of the definition and purpose of working class fiction.

The Master and Margarita- Mikhail Bulgakov

The Master and Margarita cover

The devil comes to destroy the USSR, and only a writer and his lover can stop him.

Morvern Callar - Alan Warner

Film adaptation by Lynne Ramsey

Morvern Callar arrives home to find her boyfriend dead on the floor. She grieves by getting mortal on nights out, shifts at the supermarket, Krautrock mixtapes and sunbathing in Spain.

We - Yevgeny Zamyatin

In a country constructed of glass, under complete surveillance and devoid of individuality, D-503 discovers he has a soul and is now in danger.

The stars my destination - Alfred Bester

In a world where transportation is possible with a thought, prisoners break free, economies crash and the slums emptied. Gully Foyle is marooned in space with a material that could destroy the universe. He has to give it away, but to who?

Heart of a Dog - Mikhail Bulgakov

A scientist implants the testicles and pituitary gland of a recently deceased man into a stray dog, creating a monster. A damning critique of the New Soviet man and the Leninist program, written in 1925 it remained unpublished until 1987.

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.