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Five of the best books inspired by classic novels
Culture

Five of the best books inspired by classic novels

R

New interpretations of well-known novels are gaining popularity: Sandra Newman’s feminist version of Nineteen Eighty-Four, Julia, and Barbara Kingsolver’s Pulitzer-winning modern retelling of David Copperfield, Demon Copperhead, have received attention in recent years. In addition, Percival Everett’s reimagining of The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, James, is set to be released in April.

Reworded: These novels not only draw inspiration from previous works of art, but also elevate the concept of indebtedness. Through various techniques such as riffs and rewritings, playful challenges, and prequels, these writers reimagine the stories that have influenced them. This allows us to reconsider the notion of novelty, as WH Auden states that our belief in our own originality is actually quite commonplace.


is a novel that focuses on three different women making connections between their lives, exploring the richness of human experience

The novel The Hours, written by Michael Cunningham, delves into the interconnected lives of three women and their exploration of the diverse and profound human experience.

Cunningham’s award-winning novel explores the impact of fiction on our perception of reality through various interpretations of Virginia Woolf’s work. One story follows the life of a dissatisfied housewife who reads Woolf’s book, while another focuses on a woman named Clarissa preparing for a sophisticated party in Manhattan. The presence of Woolf, as she creates her innovative story depicting a day in the life, lingers throughout the rest of the book. The novel’s structure is cleverly crafted, evoking a sense of sadness and containing sharp, poignant moments.


Zadie Smith explores the concept of beauty in her novel “On Beauty”.

In 2007, Smith’s first book, White Teeth, was presented as a contemporary classic and was re-released in Penguin’s retro orange design. On Beauty, a tale set on a university campus that pays tribute to EM Forster’s Howards End, questions the reasons why certain works of art are labeled as “classics”, while also examining the dominant systems that maintain their status. Fusing dynamic characters with insightful discussions on fine art and hip-hop culture, this story explores issues of social class, race, and family, while also considering how we can truly “connect” in the modern era.


“Jean Rhys’s novel, Wide Sargasso Sea.”

A passionate, feminist prequel to Jane Eyre, Rhys’s final novel gives a voice to the madwoman in the attic. Before she became Bertha Mason, Rochester’s first wife was we learn, the beautiful, troubled Antoinette Cosway. Dramatic and painterly, Rhys’s narrative captures the beauties of the landscape of Jamaica, Cosway’s childhood home, as well as the ugliness of historical guilt and complicity. Groundbreaking on its publication in 1966, Wide Sargasso Sea has lost none of its charge.

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“Dispossession” by Simon Grennan is a succinct novel.

This stunning graphic novel presents Trollope’s 1879 novel, John Caldigate, through a series of small scenes. It follows the typical 19th-century storyline of a hero in debt who goes to Australia in search of wealth, only to be accused of bigamy. However, Grennan adds a unique perspective to the narrative. Dispossession offers a clever and entertaining look at the Victorian novel. Readers will also be delighted to discover well-known works of art from the 19th century hidden throughout the illustrations, similar to a “Where’s Wally” game.


The novel “Flaubert’s Parrot” written by Julian Barnes.

Former physician, Geoffrey Braithwaite, is fixated on the literature of Gustave Flaubert. However, his careful collection of information about Flaubert’s fiction serves as a shield, allowing him to avoid facing his own reality. The layers of this poignant love story gradually unravel, with the presence of Flaubert’s iconic character, Madame Bovary, lingering beneath the surface. Flaubert’s Parrot loops and spirals back on itself, creating an illusion of mirrors. Yet, in the end, the reader is left not with emptiness, but with a sense of empathy and longing. Braithwaite grimly muses, “Books help us understand life. The only issue is that they make sense of other people’s lives, never our own.”

Source: theguardian.com