Third World Novels… The Top 10 by New Internationalist

There are many gifted Third World writers who can help you transcend barriers of language and tradition but you might find it difficult to know where to start. As a guide, the NI has chosen its ten best novels - the ones which are both enjoyable to read and give a vivid impression of life in developing countries. They are not listed in any significant order.

  1. Things Fall Apart by <a href="/authors/80">Chinua Achebe</a>

    A novel of great power that turns the world upside down. The Nigerian novelist Achebe reached back to the early days of his people's encounter with colonialism, the 1890's, though the white man and...

    - Time

  2. God's Bits of Wood by <a href="/authors/2182">Ousmane Sembène</a>

    In 1947-48 the workers on the Dakar-Niger railway staged a strike. In this vivid, timeless novel, Sembene Ousmane envinces the color, passion, and tragedy of those formative years in the history of...

    - Google

  3. A House for Mr. Biswas by <a href="/authors/40">V.S. Naipaul</a>

    It is the story of Mr Mohun Biswas, an Indo-Trinidadian who continually strives for success and mostly fails, who marries into the Tulsi family only to find himself dominated by it, and who finally...


  4. One Hundred Years of Solitude by <a href="/authors/188">Gabriel García Márquez</a>

    One of the 20th century's enduring works, One Hundred Years of Solitude is a widely beloved and acclaimed novel known throughout the world, and the ultimate achievement in a Nobel Prize–winning car...


  5. Woman at Point Zero by <a href="/authors/2184">Nawal El Saadawi</a>

    As Firdaus sits in a grimy prison cell awaiting the relief that death will bring, she looks back at her life and what brought her to this point, from childhood cruelty to being forced into a marria...

    - Google

  6. Petals of blood by <a href="/authors/2183">Ng̃ug̃i wa Thiongʼo</a>

    The puzzling murder of three African directors of a foreign-owned brewery sets the scene for this fervent, hard-hitting novel about disillusionment in independent Kenya. A deceptively simple tale, ...

    - Google

  7. Midnight's Children by <a href="/authors/52">Salman Rushdie</a>

    Midnight's Children is a loose allegory for events in India both before and, primarily, after the independence and partition of India, which took place at midnight on 15 August 1947. The protagonis...


  8. The Wine of Astonishment by <a href="/authors/2185">Earl Lovelace</a>

    The Wine of Astonishment is a powerful and heart-wrenching story of the persecution of Spiritual Baptists during British colonial rule in Trinidad from 1917 to 1951. The novel, situated in the remo...

    - Google

  9. Of Love and Shadows by <a href="/authors/347">Isabel Allende</a>

    This profoundly moving tale of love, bravery, and tragedy by New York Times bestselling author Isabel Allende brings to life a country ruled with an iron fist—and the men and women who dare to chal...

    - Google

  10. The Real Life of Alejandro Mayta by <a href="/authors/1759">Mario Vargas Llosa</a>

    The Real Life of Alejandro Mayta is an astute psychological portrait of a modern revolutionary and a searching account of an old friend's struggle to understand him. First published in English in 1...

    - Google