7 Sensational Satiric Novels

Satire is a popular art form whereby something is made to appear ridiculous through parody or exaggeration.

Satiric Novels

Many amazing pieces of literature use satire to criticize a subject. Often, this will involve the use of comedy, making these books incredibly fun to read. 

Yet, these books will often expose important flaws within society, such as attitudes towards class or race.

If you have a passion for satirical novels, here are some brilliant books to add to your reading list:

Animal Farm

Animal Farm: 75th Anniversary Edition

Animal Farm by George Orwell is perhaps the most famous satirical book in the world. In this influential novella, Orwell creates an allegory that explores society’s movement toward totalitarianism. 

In the book, a group of overworked farm animals overthrows their human master through a rebellion.

These animals hope to create a society of equality. Unfortunately, the rebellion goes awry when the farm falls under the rule of a pig named Napoleon, who soon becomes a dictator. 

Through this allegory, Orwell creates a cutting satire that is forever relevant.

It’s worth reading this stunning novel if you enjoy intellectual writing and thought-provoking social commentary. 


  • Orwell offers unbeatable social commentary and satire.
  • There is a timeless quality to this book that will ensure that its narrative is forever relevant. 
  • This novella is widely regarded to be a must-read classic.


  • The narrative is incredibly brief. Some elements could have been more fleshed out.



Jane Smiley’s Moo is a magnificent novel that tackles academic satire. Specifically, it delves into a dark examination of academic institutions and the American Midwest. 

The book is set in a university known as Moo University, or “Moo U”. This is an esteemed agricultural institution.

Moo University is the primary setting of this book, which depicts the lives of several different protagonists through overlapping narratives.

Throughout these interconnected narratives, Smiley takes a satirical look at feminism, academia, and environmentalism. Moo is an extraordinary read if you appreciate slice-of-life narratives.


  • Smiley takes a deep look at multiple narratives and characters. 
  • The writing is wonderfully witty. 
  • This is an accurate and comedic depiction of college politics. 


  • Some of the subplots are more interesting than others. 


Catch-22: 50th Anniversary Edition

Up next, Catch-22 is an iconic war novel with a satirical twist from the mind of Joseph Heller. Set during World War II, the narrative focuses on the lives of different characters.

In particular, it highlights the antihero Yossarian, a bombardier who is assigned a deadly mission.

As Yossarian tries to get out of this mission, he finds himself trapped by Catch-22, a rule that will prevent his escape. This rule causes Yossarian and his allies to question their sanity.

Heller’s novel is a masterclass in satire and absurdity that you are bound to love. 


  • Heller provides a uniquely cynical yet humorous perspective.  
  • Catch-22 offers an engrossing depiction of the military. 
  • Heller handles the absurdist nature of conflict expertly. 


  • Certain readers may be frustrated by the wackiness of Catch-22. 

A Clockwork Orange

A Clockwork Orange

If you have a passion for dystopian novels, you will find A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess to be a fascinating story. A Clockwork Orange is one of the most influential novels of the 20th century. 

This dystopian tale takes place in a nightmarish near future. In the future, the youth have embraced violent tendencies. When darkness falls, the world is run by criminals. 

The protagonist of this novel is Alex, a sociopath and criminal. Alex and his delinquent friends set out on a night of chaos.

When Alex is jailed, the authorities use various experiments to reform this rebellious criminal. 

A Clockwork Orange is a vivid and striking depiction of themes like violence, ethics, reformation, and free will.

Throughout the narrative, Burgess utilizes evocative language to interrogate these themes. The book satirizes extreme political systems and provides compelling social commentary. 


  • Alex is an interesting character who perfectly represents this corrupt society.
  • Burgess fascinatingly uses language. In particular, he has created a slang language used by many of the characters. 
  • A Clockwork Orange raises interesting questions about whether reformation and redemption are truly achievable. 


  • Though Burgess uses excessive violence to enhance his social commentary, not everyone will enjoy reading about this graphic violence. 

The Sellout


American author Paul Beatty is renowned for his biting portrayals of race in America. One of his best books is The Sellout, which takes a comedic yet tragic look at racism. This novel caused Beatty to win the Booker Prize.

The novel centers around an unnamed African-American narrator and his life in the fictional brown of Dickens, California.

The book explores the narrator’s complex relationship with his father, a psychologist who forces him to participate in numerous experiments. 

As an adult, the narrator will seemingly do anything to put Dickens back on the map. This includes re-introducing segregation into the town. 

Betty offers a wonderful writing style that is laced with comedy. His voice is perfect for this extremely satirical novel.

This is the perfect book for you if you want to read something funny but socially significant, as it raises several important questions about race.


  • Beatty creates a page-turning narrative. 
  • This book has sharply used parody and humor to interrogate race relations. 
  • The Sellout will have you laughing out loud. 


  • The complexity of this satirical novel may make this book a little off-putting for some readers. 

Northanger Abbey

Northanger Abbey (Illustrated by Hugh Thomson)

Jane’s Austen’s Northanger Abbey is a classic novel and bildungsroman. The book acts as a satire of Gothic novels, which were popular at the time.

Released in 1817 after Austen’s death, the book satirizes many of the conventions of popular literature from this era.

Catherine Morland is a seventeen-year-old girl, who dreams of living an idealistic life akin to the gothic novels that she devours.

Throughout the novel, Catherine develops from a naive girl into a woman who understands the world in which she lives.

Her life changes dramatically when she is invited to stay at Northanger Abbey by the Tilneys.

Northanger Abbey is great for people who prefer lighter and more subtle satirical novels.

Though it deconstructs tropes of Gothic literature through satire, it also tells an enjoyable story that many people cherish. 


  • Austen addresses fascinating themes, such as marriage, love, social class, and wealth. 
  • Many people consider Northanger Abbey to be a classic piece of literature, making it a must-read inclusion to your reading list. 
  • Catherine is a likable protagonist who develops throughout the narrative. 


  • This book may not be a good match for you if you prefer more heavy-handed satire

Cat’s Cradle

Cat's Cradle: A Novel

Last but not least, Kurt Vonnegut’s satirical novel is ideal if you appreciate postmodern literature.

The book focuses on humanity’s fear of the apocalypse. It also explores humanity’s relationship with technology and connection with free will.

Cat’s Cradle follows John, the novel’s narrator, in his endeavor to write about the atomic bomb.

As John researches the key historical event of the bombing of Hiroshima, he begins to make sarcastic comments and meaningful introspections. 

Loaded with black humor, Cat’s Cradle is an extraordinary book if you appreciate satire. 


  • This is a short book that readers will quickly make their way through. 
  • Vonnegut makes lots of clever observations. 


  • The plot is a little light while the pacing is slow at times. 

Final Thoughts

If you adore books that overflow with sharp and punchy satire, you will appreciate these incredible books.

Often highlighting social issues, these books are not only humorous but will also allow readers to ponder interesting questions. 

As a result, these satirical novels are the perfect balance between humorous and thought-provoking.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Is Satire In A Novel?

When used in literature, satire is defined as ridiculing a subject through comedy. 

What Are The Characteristics Of A Satirical Novel?

Satirical literature will often feature characteristics such as comedy, wit, parody, irony, sarcasm, and exaggeration.

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Noah Burton