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Political NovelsSix NYRB Classics

Book Collection

From rousing tales of resistance to shrewd studies of regimes real and fictitious, these six novels stretch the political imagination. Kenneth Fearing’s Clark Gifford's Body tracks the reverberations of a brief, brutally crushed rebellion. Multatuli’s Max Havelaar tells the story of a renegade Dutch colonial administrator’s struggle to expose the abuse of the Indonesian peasantry. The novel brings both bark and bite. Published in 1860, it prompted fierce debate and changes to Dutch colonial policy.

From Victor Serge and Curzio Malaparte, find two novels of the fateful eve and early days of the Soviet Union. Serge’s Conquered City is set in 1919-1920 St. Petersburg, where the city’s new masters camp out in the splendid palaces of the former regime and begin to flex their newfound power. The Kremlin Ball, set in the late 1920s, is an extraordinary court chronicle of Communist life. In Malaparte’s vision it is from his nightly opera box, rather than the Kremlin, that Stalin surveys the scandals, beauties, and bureaucrats of Soviet high society. Basti by Intizar Husain tells the story of a life and landscape cut through by the 1947 Partition of India. In Hav, iconic travel writer Jan Morris guides us through a fictional Mediterranean city with a richly layered history—one which its fanatic government seeks to rewrite.