Have you ever read a book that ripped your heart out of your chest or made you feel uncomfortable while telling you a compelling story?
There are so many books out there that have the ability to spark joy when we read them, but it’s the books that leave us emotionally wrenched that will be highlighted today.
Enjoy these ten books that will destroy your emotions, and leave you feeling sorrowful, hopeless, or downright depressed. If you have any books you want to add or if you’ve read any of the books below and want to share your experience, comment below:
No Longer Human by Osamu Dazai
If you are looking for a heart-wrenching novel that explores the depths of human despair and the ultimate futility of life, you can have a look at No Longer Human by Osamu Dazai. Through the eyes of the main protagonist Yozo, we witness struggles with mental illness, societal pressure and a deep sense of alienation from the world around him.
The novel’s raw, honest and unflinching portrayal of human suffering makes this book a difficult but unforgettable read. It forces us to confront the darker aspects of our existence and question what it truly means to be human. A bit of advice, read this book first, then look up the author. Then when you’re finished, read Junji Ito’s adaption and feel your heart sink into oblivion.
A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini
A Thousand Splendid Suns is an emotionally impactful novel that delves into the complexities of life in war-torn Afghanistan. Through the intertwined stories of Mariam and Laila, we witness the struggle of women in a patriarchal society enduring abuse, loss and betrayal.
The novel’s vivid descriptions and powerful characters make it a soul-destroying read that will stay with you long after you read it. It is a book that is full and highlights the resilience of the human spirit and the enduring strength of love and hope even in the darkest times.
A Place for Us by Fatima Farheen Mirza
If you are looking for a book that allows you to look in on the emotional and devastating breakdown of a family, A Place for Us is the book for you. This book about a Muslim-American family as they slowly break apart is a powerful and thought-provoking exploration of familial relationships and personal experiences.
We explore this family’s relationship through the eyes of the members of this family as the tension slowly boils over and threatens to break them apart. If A Thousand Suns is a story of mother and daughter, A Place for Us explores the complicated relationship between father and son, from their happy beginning to the missed opportunities that further drew them apart.
Beloved by Toni Morrison
Beloved by Toni Morrison is a ghost story, but one that is steeped in grief, sorrow, and trauma. It is a poignant and powerful novel that delves into the tragic history of slavery and its lasting impact on individuals and communities.
The book is about Sethe, a runaway slave forced to kill her daughter in order to protect her from the life of a slave. Horrified by what she’s done, the neighbouring black community shuns her. Isolated and filled with grief, Sethe soon finds her home is haunted by a presence believed to be her daughter, whom she calls Beloved.
Morrison’s prose is powerful, and poetic, but tackles a difficult subject matter with grace and sensitivity. Nevertheless, it will leave you feeling hollow, angry and fulled with grief.
An Ordinary Life by Amanda Prowse
An Ordinary Life begins with 94-year-old Molly as she sits in her hospital bed. She has been keeping a secret for most of her life, and she decides it’s time to tell the truth. At age 18, she falls in love with Johan, her best friend’s brother. Before he goes off to war, they spend the evening together. Johan promises her a life together when he returns.
Unfortunately, his death rips that dream away from her, and it isn’t long after that Molly finds out she is pregnant. An Ordinary Life is a heartbreaking story about one woman’s selflessness in order to give her son the best life possible. It is a heartwarming, but gut-wrenching story that will leave you asking what would you do to ensure the happiness of your child. An Ordinary Life will leave you feeling hopeful, of course, but wondering what could have been.
A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara
If you are looking for a book that will completely wreck you from start to finish, try A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara. It is a novel that explores the struggles of Jude, as he battles the trauma of his childhood, and struggles with his disability. The book also focuses on the experiences of those closest to him, Willem, JB and Malcolm as they try to support Jude with his trauma.
If you choose to read A Little Life, you will be given an insight into the pain and suffering of one man. The story is filled with a deeper look at trauma, abuse, and struggles someone faces with their mental and physical health. After reading this book it’s impossible not to feel as if you’ve been destroyed by it.
The Road by Cormac McCarthy
Cormac McCarthy is well known for writing books that provide an emotional impact. This is no different in his book The Road. The bleak and dystopian world that is depicted in the novel is one that is devoid of hope and filled with relentless despair. The story follows a father and his young son as they struggle to survive in a world that has been ravaged by an unspecified disaster.
The journey that they undertake is one that is marred by danger, hunger and the constant threat of violence. As the reader, you will become fully immersed in the story. You will be forced to confront the stark realities of a world that has been stripped of all that is good and decent, and shown just how fragile our lives are.
The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
The Book Thief by Markus Zusak is a captivating novel that has left many readers deeply moved. It tells the story of a young girl named Liesel as she grows up in Nazi Germany, facing a world that is often cruel and unforgiving.
Liesel is only pushed forward by her love of reading and books. Throughout the book, Liesel confronts of the harsh realities of war and experiences loss and trauma. The themes of this book focus on death, literature and love, leaving you feeling empathy and compassion, as well as a sense of loss.
Blood Meridian by Cormac McCarthy
Cormac McCarthy’s Blood Meridian will leave you feeling emotionally drained. The book tells the story of a young runaway known only as ‘The Kid’ as he joins a group of violent and ruthless scalp hunters in the American Southwest in the mid-1800s.
The book is filled with brutality and senseless violence, which the Kid both witnesses and participates in that are both shocking and disturbing. It doesn’t shy away from depicting the full horror of these atrocities. You will be confronted with the darker aspects of human nature and are forced to grapple with difficult questions about morality, justice, and the nature of evil.
Resurrection by Leo Tolstoy
Leo Tolstoy’s Resurrection is a deeply unsettling novel that can leave readers feeling disturbed. The book follows the story of a privileged nobleman, Prince Dmitri Ivanovich Nekhlyudov, as he grapples with guilt and seeks redemption after a chance encounter with a former servant he wronged.
The novel explores the corrupt and oppressive nature of Russian society in the late 19th century, exposing the hypocrisy of the legal system and the suffering of the lower classes. The themes of sin, guilt, and redemption are prevalent throughout the book, and the graphic depictions of poverty, prostitution, and imprisonment are difficult to read.
Resurrection is a challenging work that forces readers to confront uncomfortable truths about society and the human condition, making it a truly dark and thought-provoking book that will stay on your mind weeks after you’ve finished it.
These are just a few books that will destroy you, whether that’s through deep, unrelenting sorrow, heartwarming feats of hope and kindness, or just showing us the deepest and darkest depths of human suffering. What about you guys though? Feel like we omitted a choice that should be on this list? Let us know in the comments below!