This is actually three books in one, Chinua Achebe’s “African” trilogy, including “Things Fall Apart” from 1958. This work pretty much launched post-colonial literature and paved the way for the generation of great African writers who came after, including the wondrous Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie.
Elif Shafak is a female Turkish novelist who has lately been persecuted by the Turkish government (authoritarians go after the intellectuals first.) This book is about the last ten minutes in a murdered prostitute’s life as she reflects on her past while she dies behind a dumpster. 😳
Marcel Proust is known for his long, spiraling sentences and his exploration of the nature of memory. Plus, most of the time you can’t go wrong with French literature.
Beckett is famous for his radically minimalist plays and novels. But he had an interesting life, too – born in England, he emigrated to France and took part in the French Resistance in Paris during World War 2. No doubt this informed his bleak but comical worldview.