The Joke by Milan KunderaRead about another entry on the list.
"A difference of taste in jokes" wrote George Eliot, "is a great strain on the affections." It's rather more than that in Kundera's novel. Ludvik sends a postcard containing a joke about Trotsky to a young woman with whom he's infatuated. Not such a good idea in 1950s Czechoslovakia, where a Stalinist regime is in power. Ludvik is expelled from the Communist Party, loses his job at the university and is sent to work in the mines for a decade. He comes out thirsting for revenge, but the regime is beginning to thaw and life has a few more surprises in store for him.