Americans turn to dystopian classics as journalists fail to read signs of the times
Sale of dystopian classics such as George Orwell’s “1984” and Margaret Atwood’s “The Handmaid’s Tale” have surged amid protests over United States President Donald Trump, the New York Times has reported.
“1984” rose to the top of Amazon’s best-seller list last week while sales of Atwood’s book rose 30 percent in 2016 compared to the previous year.
Atwood told the New York Times she has heard from readers who see parallelisms between Trump’s curtailment of reproductive rights– beginning with cutting off funding to international organizations that offer abortion services– and her novel, which is set at a future time in England, when a totalitarian regime has taken away women’s civil rights.
Sales of Orwell’s 68-year-old classic, meanwhile, surged right after Trump officially began his term as his staff slammed the media for reporting about the lackluster attendance to his inauguration. Craig Burke, publicity director for Penguin’s paperback imprint division Signet Classics said sales of the novel rose 9,500 percent since Jan. 20.
A Twitter spokesperson told the newspaper that references to “1984” were made over 290,000 times last week. Its climb to the top of Amazon’s best-seller list resulted in more publicity for the book.
Other dystopian novels which have piqued people’s interests as of late include: Aldous Huxley’s “Brave New World and Sinclair Lewis’ “It Can’t Happen Here.”
Gary Shteyngart, author of the dystopian novel “Super Sad Love Story,” said readers may be reviving an interest in dystopian literature because “journalism has not been able to keep up with things.”
“Many of these books are becoming more important to the average American reader because they want to know what’s next, because we’ve never been through this before,” he said.