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George Eliot (Mary Anne Evans) was a great believer in the power of empathy to move her readers. Back when she was writing in the 19th century, empathy was generally known as ‘sympathy’.
This novel by Christopher Waking is right up there amongst my empathic favourites.
This is a classic short-story from Ursula Le Guin, one of the greatest sci-fi writers ever. You can find it in her collection The Wind’s Twelve Quarters. It’s not long but it has a powerful empathic message at the heart of it.
This is the original book on which Steven Spielberg’s film, Schindler’s List, was based. Keneally is both a historian and a novelist, and this book combines both approaches with enormous skill.