Communist, Marxist, or Socialist Novels

These novels have characters living where communism, Marxism, or socialism is being practiced. Sometimes these systems exist in opposition to democracy, fascism or capitalism.

For societies that usually have elements of these systems see Utopias

Communism, Marxism, or Socialism in Novels

Davita’s Harp | Chaim Potok

The Chandal family is poor, living in various run-down areas in New York. The narrator is a young girl, Ilana Davita. Her mother is active in the Communist Party, viewing it as a protection against capitalism and fascism. She survived a pogrom in Poland. Her father is a journalist who supports working people.

The Ugly American | William J. Lederer & Eugene Burdick

Louis Sears is the U.S. ambassador to Sarkhan, a country in Southeast Asia. He doesn’t know the local language or understand the concerns of the people. The local communists are hostile to the American influence in their country. When Sears is recalled to the United States, he is replaced by Gilbert MacWhite, an accomplished diplomat conversant with communism, Marxism, Soviet theory, and Sarkhanese history and politics.

How Green Was My Valley | Richard Llewellyn

Huw tells the story of his life in his Wales valley with his parents and siblings. His father and older brothers worked in the coal mine. Huw’s brother Davy led the workers in two strikes for higher wages. Some of the workers favoured unionizing and Socialism, which divided the family somewhat. The slag, a by-product of the mining operations, turned the valley black.

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Paradise of the Blind | Duong Thu Huong

Hang, a young Vietnamese woman, remembers her family’s history. It begins with her mother Que marrying Ton, a teacher. Que’s brother Chinh comes home after fighting for the communists, who now rule Vietnam. He is loyal to the government, and divides his sister’s family, making trouble for Ton, whose family are landlords and thus enemies of the common people. Hang grows up without knowing her father. She has to decide whether to live a traditional life or pursue a more independent course.

Pelle the Conquerer | Martin Andersen Nexo

Lasse Karlsson and his eight-year-old son Pelle go to a Danish island looking for work as laborers. Lasse gets hired on Stone Farm. It is an oppressive, harsh place with lots of rough people. When he gets older, Pelle is apprenticed to a shoemaker. He later gets involved in union activities and social equality.

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Waiting | Ha Jin

Lin Kong is a married army doctor and teacher. He develops feelings for Manna, a nurse he works with. Eventually, she broaches the idea of an affair. He is uncomfortable with this, wanting to divorce his wife first.

Doctor Zhivago | Boris Pasternak

Yura Zhivago’s mother has died. His father had left the family and squandered their money. He commits suicide while Yura is young. His uncle looks after him. Yura eventually goes into medicine. He meets Tonia, a woman from a moneyed family, and they marry. He also meets Lara, an independent, intelligent woman, and they feel a strong attraction.

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