Politics in Prose

It’s Election Day, folks! Have you voted yet? We hope so.

Politics, as we’ve seen already this election season, can be quite dramatic. There are impassioned speeches, name calling, and critical issues on the line. After all, politics affects everyone—rich or poor, man or woman, adult or child. All of the bright hopes and dark secrets are brought to the surface for the world to judge.

The political process, and everything that entails, provides an often overlooked dramatic element for characters to become embroiled in. Here are a few books that have taken advantage of the chaos of politics.

  • In Middlemarch, George Eliot wisely uses speeches, campaigning, and newspaper editorials to move the story forward. Love set against Britain’s Reform Bill. What’s more romantic than that?
  • All the King’s Men, by Robert Penn Warren, follows the story of a governor, which allows Warren to also comment on the role of politics on family and the country at large.
  • The Manchurian Candidate, by Richard Condon, uses the politics of the Cold War to create drama surrounding assassinations, brainwashing, and fear.
  • And, of course, there is Doctor Zhivago, by Boris Pasternak, which intertwines a Russian revolution with an epic love story.

Addressing politics can be a great way to introduce the issues of your fictional world while also building the tension. Use it to your advantage! And check out Flavorwire for more novels using politics.

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