6 Virago Modern Classics: Books for Discovering the Self through Literary Reflections

Have you ever found yourself engrossed in a book, realizing that the characters grapple with the same questions you do? It’s a moment of connection, where the struggles and triumphs of fictional beings resonate with our own lives. One theme that consistently captivates is the literary exploration of identity – that elusive essence shaping who we are.

In the world of literature, several works stand out for their exploration of human identity, many of which are written by women. This list takes you to 6 remarkable books that offer unique perspectives on self-perception and societal expectations, while also introducing you to exceptional authors as well as the remarkable imprint that reveres them. 

‘Virago Modern Classics’, a Hachette imprint founded in 1978, is a mighty force dedicated to the publication and celebration of women’s voices in literature! Virago, meaning strong woman warrior, now refers to greats like du Maurier and Muriel Spark, as well as the championing industry force founded to reclaim neglected female authors and redefine the “classic.” With over 40 years of publishing powerful stories and irrepressible women, this is an imprint well worth knowing, reading and being excited about.

So, let’s delve into a few of these novels and their captivating forays into the human!

The Talented Mr. Ripley by Patricia Highsmith

This psychological thriller follows Tom Ripley, a young man with a talent for impersonation and manipulation. When he’s tasked with convincing a wealthy industrialist’s son to return home from Italy, Ripley becomes enamoured with the luxurious lifestyle he’s exposed to. As he ingratiates himself into the son’s life, he becomes increasingly desperate to maintain the façade, resorting to extreme measures to protect his newfound identity.

Don’t Look Now and Other Stories by Daphne du Maurier

This collection of short stories explores the intricacies of human psychology and perception. In the titular tale, a grieving couple in Venice begins to experience eerie occurrences that blur the lines between reality and illusion. Other stories in the collection delve into themes of paranoia, obsession, and the unreliability of memory, leaving readers questioning their own perceptions of the world.

Strangers on a Train by Patricia Highsmith

Highsmith’s classic suspense novel follows the chance encounter between two strangers, Guy Haines and Charles Bruno, who discuss the idea of “exchanging murders” – each committing a murder for the other, thus eliminating any motive. However, when Bruno carries out his end of the bargain without Guy’s consent, a dangerous game of cat and mouse ensues, revealing the dark depths of human nature and the consequences of crossing moral boundaries.

Heartburn by Nora Ephron

This semi-autobiographical novel follows Rachel Samstat, a cookbook writer whose life is turned upside down when she discovers her husband’s infidelity while pregnant with their second child. Through a series of witty and candid reflections, Rachel navigates the fallout of her marriage, reassessing her own identity and priorities in the process.

A Far Cry from Kensington by Muriel Spark

Set in 1950s London, this satirical novel follows the life of Mrs. Hawkins, a witty and observant narrator who finds herself embroiled in the eccentricities of her neighbors and colleagues. As she navigates the ups and downs of post-war society, Mrs. Hawkins confronts her own insecurities and desires, ultimately discovering the courage to assert her identity in a world defined by conformity.

The Group by Mary McCarthy

Set in the 1930s, this novel follows the lives of eight Vassar College graduates as they navigate the complexities of adulthood. Through their various trials and tribulations – including love affairs, career aspirations, and societal pressures – the women grapple with questions of identity and self-discovery in a rapidly changing world.

As you close the pages of these profound literary explorations, let their echoes linger within you. Take a moment to gaze inward, pondering the reflections of identity and self-discovery they’ve stirred. Embrace this journey of introspection, for in the depths of contemplation lies the essence of profound understanding and growth.

Pick up any of these 6 Virago Modern Classics from any Kunzum store or WhatsApp +91.8800200280 to order. Buy the book(s) and the coffee’s on us.

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