Last week I reviewed The People in the Trees by Hanya Yanigahara and realised how much I enjoy reading about the darker side of our society. I love the ability to get inside the head of someone who commits evil acts and for some reason I like it even more if I am able to understand their motivation for committing a crime.
I began to think about other books which shared this property and before I knew it I had a list long enough to justify a full blog post!
Here are my favourite books about the more unsavoury characters in our society, but be warned, most of these books will make you feel very uncomfortable!
Note: Book titles link to my review; covers link to Amazon.
The Kindly Ones is one of the most controversial books written in recent years. It is fictional biography of Max Aue, a senior SS officer, present during the Holocaust. It graphically describes his brutality, but also has a strange way of making you understand how he came to be that way. It’s deeply disturbing.
This brave book explains exactly how innocent children are turned into ruthless killers. The plight of child soldiers is a difficult subject, but Tulba handles it with great sensitivity. This book deserves a much wider audience.
If you don’t think you could ever have sympathy for a registered paedophile, read this book and see if you’re wrong!
The Wasp Factory contains one of the most disturbing characters I’ve ever read about, but for some reason I still have sympathy for this violent child. Does that make me weird?!
This sexually explicit book is disturbing in the way it makes you question whether or not female paedophiles are worse than male. It’s thought provoking stuff!
A young mother stabs a man in front of her family and friends during a quiet picnic by the lake. I was surprised by how much sympathy I had for her in the end.
This book isn’t for the squeamish, but I loved the way I became attached to the central character, who dismembers her husband. Would you help your friend to hide body parts around your local area?!
I can’t explain exactly what happens in this book without spoiling it, but this dark book will give you some insight into the difficulties of parenting.
A couple hide their child in a cage. Topolski’s career as a psychoanalytic psychotherapist gives the reader a scarility realistic insight into their minds.
This real-life account of a society that leaves its young and old to die when times get tough is difficult to read, but it raises many important questions. I highly recommend it!
Which are your favourite books for understanding the darker side of society?