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Modern Books Based on Classic Literature (Part 2)

Modern Books Based on Classic Literature (Part 2)

Last week we shared five recommendations for modern books based on classic literature, with a promise of writing part two this week. 

So, without further ado, here it is!


Under the Udala Trees - Chinelo Okparanta | 4.5 Stars

Inspired by Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet.

Inspired by both Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet and Nigerian folktales, this brilliant book follows a young girl named Ijeoma who, at the age of eleven, is sent to grow up in safety and away from the dangers of civil war. 

It’s here that she meets another young girl, displaced like she is and from a different ethnic community. The two girls fall in love but soon learn that they must keep their relationship a secret. 

How can Ijeoma hide such a huge and integral part of herself? What’s the cost of living inside a lie? 

A Thousand Acres - Jane Smiley | 4.0 Stars

Inspired by Shakespeare’s King Lear. 

A Thousand Acres follows the lives of the Clark family. A father, who hands down joint ownership of his farm to his three daughters, one of whom objects and is subsequently removed from the agreement, and the explosive chain of events that follow. Dark secrets are brought to light and suppressed emotions reveal themselves. 

The Expatriates - Janice Y. K Lee | 4.0 Stars

Inspired by Ernest Hemingway’s The Sun Also Rises. 

Mercy, Margaret and Hilary are three American expat women living in Hong Kong. All of them with unique but complex and intricate lives. Lives which, following an incident, become inextricably entwined with one another. 

Join them as they struggle to live with their past, confront their present and navigate their future in an unfamiliar culture. 

A raw, emotional and intimate read. 

Station Eleven - Emily St. John Mandel | 4.0 Stars

Inspired by Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451.

This brilliant book is set in a dystopian future where a flu pandemic has wiped out most of the world’s population. It follows the life of a once famous actor and his theatre troupe of four others, who roam the dangerous wastelands, risking everything for art and humanity, and trying to avoid being caught in the crosshairs of a wreckless self-proclaimed prophet. 

The Nest - Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney | 3.5 Stars

Inspired by Jane Austen’s Sense and Sensibility. 

Leo, Beatrice, Jack and Melody are four siblings who have lived their lives waiting to cash in the healthy shared inheritance that’s been left to them by their father, which becomes available when the youngest sibling turns forty. However just months before the big day, their inheritance takes a huge hit.

Leo, careless and selfish, causes a car accident whilst driving under the influence of drugs. He drains the fund (allowed in the case of an emergency) to cover his legal fees and his passenger’s medical costs. 

Such a turn of events leads us to learning more about each of the sibling’s lives and the paths that have led them to be where they are now. Tensions reach boiling point and emotions rise - can they leave the past in the past and move forward?

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