The best tongue-in-cheek novels about social classes and clashes

Who am I?

I am a french writer, I like to write satires and tongue-in-cheek books about society. Work, children, France, social classes... When you find the right angle almost everything can be funny. With my writing I want to entertain, but give the reader something to think about. I hope this list will make you laugh as much I did. 

I wrote...

The Conquest of the Red Man

By Corinne Maier,

Book cover of The Conquest of the Red Man

What is my book about?

It is a satirical political tale about social classes and about the French obsession with food. My leading character, Corinne Zed, a French bourgeois snob, decides one day to add piquant to her life—rich people are so boring. Nothing could be more exciting than trying to seduce Marco, a leftist who, in a previous life, planted bombs. Not easy to change political tack: Corinne loves pleasures of the palate and why starting a revolution precisely when it is time to drink champagne or eat in a new restaurant (preferably referenced in Michelin)? With the help of her best friend, a trendy and decadent gallery owner, she chases Marco in a mock-heroic adventure. 

The books I picked & why

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By Michael Frayn,

Book cover of Skios

Why this book?

On the Greek island of Skios, the philantropic foundation Fred Toppler brings together once a year the scientifical elite. But this summer, nothing works as planned following a suitcase mix-up at the airport. The misunderstandings follow one another, leading the characters to connect with people of other social backgrounds. The pompous and eminent academic Norman Wilfred finds himself trapped in a remote house with Georgie, a nice but limited young woman, when Oliver Fox, a good-looking playboy, deliberately takes Norman’s place at the Toppler foundation, to the delight of the guests. I enjoyed very much the social satire and the brilliant dialogues of Skios. This funny and acidulous book is perfect for reading at the beach. 

The Queen and I

By Sue Townsend,

Book cover of The Queen and I

Why this book?

Let’s imagine the English people have decided to abolish the monarchy. We are back in the eighties, and the Windsor family, expelled from Westminster, is relocated to a poor neighborhood of London and is required to work. The ex-Queen tries to cook, Philip is depressed, Diana wonders about her wardrobe and Charles discovers gardening talents...The Queen and I is a book that plays wonderfully on the human and linguistic gap between high society and common people. Funny situations and the satirical tone made me laugh on each page. I recommend it to all the people who are struggling to make a living—they’ll think it could be worse

Deaf Sentence

By David Lodge,

Book cover of Deaf Sentence

Why this book?

Desmond, a retired teacher, is embarrassed by increasing deafness which he tries to hide. Hearing loss is a constant source of domestic friction with his busy wife and of social malaise, leading Desmond into mistakes and follies, and to find himself in incongruous situations. Comes Alex, a student whom Desmond has agreed to help after a misunderstanding at a party… Despite sensitive topics (deafness, confrontation with death), Deaf Sentence manages to be deeply entertaining with a lame love story and a disillusioned portrait of contemporary society. I recommend it to everyone, because we all feel overwhelmed from time to time. 

The Year of Living Biblically: One Man's Humble Quest to Follow the Bible as Literally as Possible

By A.J. Jacobs,

Book cover of The Year of Living Biblically: One Man's Humble Quest to Follow the Bible as Literally as Possible

Why this book?

A. J. Jacobs, a journalist, decides to read the Bible and try to follow it literally for a whole year, to the point of eating locusts, throwing small pebbles at couples he suspects of adultery, slaying idolatry, and speaking the naked truth… Struggling to follow archaic rules, he lives a disconcerting experience under the perplexed eyes of his family and becomes quickly out of step with the present time. The Year of Living Biblically depicts a clash of worlds with a caustic humor and I’ve burst out laughing a couple of times. I recommend it to believers and non-believers, both will be amused by this witty book that gives us food for thought.

Wilt 1

By Tom Sharpe,

Book cover of Wilt 1

Why this book?

Henry Wilt is a disillusioned teacher who feels stuck between his collegues who look down on him, and his super positive wife Eva, who wants to enjoy life in every fashionable way possible. When walking his dog, Henry imagines how to kill Eva. Reality catches up with fiction when he is charged by the police for her murder… Ludicrous situations follow one another, and Wilt 1 is hilarious. I enjoyed the book because it is based on a collision between Henry, a man who does not believe in the seriousness of things, and the other characters, who all embody their social roles to the point of caricature. I recommend it to people who sometimes feel trapped in their lives—as most of us do. 

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