Stacks of Good Books Are Weighty from the Decade That Started With ’80

Dave Astor on Literature

It’s been a while since I focused on a specific decade of literature, so today I’ll discuss…the 1980s.

At first thought, those 10 years don’t seem like an amazing period for fiction, but there were quite a few memorable novels published during that time. Just a coincidence? Maybe. Still, many ’80s authors were directly or indirectly influenced by that decade’s many political and cultural happenings — the conservative reigns of Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher, the seismic changes in the Soviet Union, far-right evangelical involvement in U.S. politics, continued racism and patriarchy (“thanks” in part to those evangelicals), the sick “greed is good” mentality (not just in the ’80s of course), the AIDS pandemic, MTV, the rise of personal computers, etc.

I just finished The Alchemist, a seemingly simple short novel (just 167 pages) that’s actually quite profound. Paulo Coelho’s 1988-published saga of young Santiago’s epic journey probably could…

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