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Satires written by authors of color offer an alternative perspective on the society we live in. They speak of stories of pent-up hurt and anger. They also reflect the rebellious spirit that lies deep down within each of us. This list of eight satirical novels forces us to reconcile with our humanity and speculate on how we unknowingly become agents of oppression ourselves.
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Interior Chinatown by Charles Yu
Willis Wu finds it hard to gain agency of his own narrative. His hopes and aspirations are constantly dictated by a society where he is considered nothing more than a generic Asian man. His biggest dream is to be the Kung Fu guy—because being a resident of Chinatown, what else can he aspire to be? A sharp take on microaggressions, the position of Asians in the West, and the never-changing cycle of oppression holding people of color back, this satirical novel is one of a kind.
Black No More by George S. Schuyler
What happens if Black people can turn white with the help of science? Max Disher is one such man who, through a scientific transformation, changes the color of his skin. Then he becomes the leader of a white supremacist group. The woman who has previously rejected him for being Black marries him after he turns white. What is whiteness—and why is it always about repressing people of color? This book poses logical questions about how self-serving this entire enterprise is.
The Sellout by Paul Beatty
The narrator is living the life of a lower middle-class Californian. He thinks his father’s memoir will help improve his life. On days of despair when he feels stuck, the hope of this memoir keeps him going. But what happens if there exists no such memoir? Since he has hit rock bottom he decides to avenge his misfortune by wreaking havoc in his own way. He reinstates slavery and this big step lands him in trouble. How will he deliver himself out of the pickle he is in?
Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison
The protagonist is invisible. Despite having a corporeal presence, nobody really sees him. Since everybody refuses to acknowledge him, he lives underground where he writes about his experiences. He steals electricity and feels barely like a human being on most days. The constant dehumanization that he has to go through is taxing beyond words. This novel not only makes us think about how we view race, but also changes the way we perceive the art of novel writing.
Black Buck by Mateo Askaripour
Despite Darren’s mother having high expectations from her son, Darren doesn’t feel being overly ambitious is what he is meant to do. He is content at his low-paying job. But because of a surprising turn of events, society makes a rebel out of him. Suddenly he is helping young people of color riot against the system in an unexpected way. Will he be able to make a dent in the structure that weighs people like him down?
Dangerlok by Eunice De Souza
Rina Ferreira lives alone. She enjoys her own company very much, but at times she does get bitter about it. She occasionally writes letters to her former lover. But for the most part, she has no one to talk to. Despite being lonely, she doesn’t want to live in any other part of the world besides Bombay. The urban loneliness that comes with independence is a profound theme in this book. At once hilarious and sad, this book is quite a ride.
Flight To Canada by Ishmael Reed
This book is an extremely funny account of a slave’s point of view about Civil War. Three slaves decide to flee their masters in search of a better life. Rumor has it that they have been inflicted by a disease that makes slaves run away. Reed captures America’s history of oppression through a refreshing new lens. He makes us reevaluate how we view America as a country, and the legacy of exploitation that’s synonymous with its rise.
Oreo by Fran Ross and Harryette Mullen
This book is rife with laugh-out-loud humor and reflects on the relationship between African Americans and Jews. Oreo’s mother is part of a theatrical group, so she spends most of her time with her grandparents. She has been looking for her father but there are many like him all around her and she doesn’t understand which one is him. Her endeavor to find him becomes something equivalent to a mythological quest. This book questions narratives of race, ethnicity, and identity while also making the readers crack up throughout.
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