Share 15 Stories of Betrayal to Read for the Ides of March

15 Stories of Betrayal to Read for the Ides of March

Taylor Noel started working for Scribner’s publicity department in 2015. She interned at Algonquin Books and Folio Literary Management while completing her studies at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Taylor tends to read mostly literary fiction and memoirs, but will also dabble in upmarket commercial fiction with historical, transcultural, or apocalyptic settings, as well as popular young adult. You can find her on Instagram @books_with_taylor.

My introduction to Shakespeare’s JULIUS CAESAR was when my sixth-grade teacher made our class read the play aloud for “dramatic effect.” I read the part of Calpurnia. There is something searing about watching a painfully awkward sixth-grade boy theatrically cry out, “Et tu, Brute?” Needless to say, I never forget the Ides of March. This year I’m celebrating with 15 other works of fiction with dramatic and memorable betrayals.

by George Orwell
This classic follows a man struggling under an oppressive government—and there is absolutely no shortage of betrayal involved.

The Woman Upstairs
by Claire Messud
Nora Eldridge is a quiet, reliable schoolteacher suddenly drawn into a complex and exciting new world with the arrival of the Shahid family—particularly the glamorous artist Sirena. Little does she know that Sirena’s ambition will lead to a shattering betrayal.

The Count of Monte Cristo
by Alexandre Dumas

Young merchant sailor Edmond Dantès returns home to Marseille to marry his fiancée, but is betrayed by his best friends and unjustly imprisoned. After he manages to escape prison and discovers a secret fortune, Dantès sets out for revenge on those responsible.

The Kite Runner
by Khaled Hosseini
THE KITE RUNNER is the unforgettable, tremendously moving story of the unlikely friendship between Amir, the son of a wealthy businessman, and Hassan, the son of the businessman’s servant. When Amir and his father flee Afghanistan, he is haunted by his cowardly betrayal of Hassan.

The Paris Wife
by Paula McLain
THE PARIS WIFE, which imagines the infamous love affair between Ernest Hemingway and his wife, Hadley, is a sweeping and evocative story of ruthless ambition and heartbreaking betrayal.

by Ian McEwan
When a 13-year-old witnesses a flirtation between her sister and the son of a servant, she misunderstands the adult moment and accidentally betrays her sister in an act that will change all of their lives.

The Piano Teacher
by Janice Y. K. Lee

THE PIANO TEACHER is a tale of love and betrayal featuring Claire Pendleton, a young piano teacher who travels to Hong Kong with her husband to work for a wealthy Chinese couple. This couple also employs a chauffeur named Will Truesdale, who takes up a fateful affair with Claire.

The Hours Count
by Jillian Cantor

THE HOURS COUNT is the reimagined story of this very real betrayal—about the young woman who befriended her neighbors, the notorious Ethel and Julius Rosenberg, who were later executed for espionage in the 1950s.

Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage
by Haruki Murakami

A young man is haunted by a great loss and journeys into his past in order to finally understand why his closest friends suddenly cast him out years ago. Hint: he was unknowingly betrayed.

The Blazing World
by Siri Hustvedt
Harriet Burden, who was involved in an explosive scandal in New York’s art world, recruits three young men to present her work as their own. When Harriet decides to reclaim her work after an enormously successful reception, she is betrayed by one of the men and finds herself involved in a dangerous game that results in his death.

The Remains of the Day
by Kazuo Ishiguro
Mr. Stevens is the epitome of the perfect butler, but when he embarks on a road trip to visit an old colleague, he is forced to confront how the beliefs that have shaped his life have also betrayed him.

The Girls in the Garden
by Lisa Jewell

When Pip; her 13-year-old sister, Grace; and their mother move into an idyllic communal garden square, they could have never predicted the gruesome betrayal that would leave Grace lying unconscious and bloody in a hidden corner of the rose garden.

In the Time of the Butterflies
by Julia Alvarez

The Mirabal sisters, prominent opponents of Trujillo’s dictatorship in the Dominican Republic, are betrayed by their inner circle. After plotting to overthrow the government, three of the four sisters are found near their wrecked Jeep at the bottom of a 150-foot cliff.

China Dolls
by Lisa See

Three young women from different backgrounds meet at San Francisco’s exclusive Forbidden City Nightclub and become fast friends. When their dark secrets are exposed, a shocking act of betrayal changes everything.

The Sympathizer
by Viet Thanh Nguyen
Told by a communist double agent and a “man of two minds,” THE SYMPATHIZER is a gripping and suspenseful espionage novel that keeps you on the edge of your seat.

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