- Michele Brown
If you like books such as those written by Kurt Vonnegut or Jonathan Safran Foer, satirical, with "beautiful and intriguing use of language," here are some suggestions:
TC Boyle - The Road to Wellville
(One of the best writers in America today.) "Will Lightbody is a man with a stomach ailment whose only sin is loving his wife, Eleanor, too much. Eleanor is a health nut of the first stripe, and when in 1907 she journeys to Dr. John Harvey Kellogg's infamous Battle Creek Spa to live out the vegetarian ethos, poor Will goes too. So begins T. Coraghessan Boyle's wickedly comic look at turn-of-the-century fanatics in search of the magic pill to prolong their lives--or the profit to be had from manufacturing it. Brimming with a Dickensian cast of characters and laced with wildly wonderful plot twists, Jane Smiley in the New York Times Book Review called The Road to Wellville "A marvel, enjoyable from beginning to end." " Catalog summary.
Augusten Burroughs - Running With Scissors: A Memoir (I didn't know whether to fall off my chair laughing, or run away screaming in horror when I read this!) "Running with Scissors is the true story of a boy whose mother (a poet with delusions of Anne Sexton) gave him away to be raised by her psychiatrist, a dead-ringer for Santa and a lunatic in the bargain.
Suddenly, at age twelve, Augusten Burroughs found himself living in a dilapidated Victorian in perfect squalor. The doctor's bizarre family, a few patients, and a pedophile living in the backyard shed completed the tableau. Here, there were no rules, there was no school. The Christmas tree stayed up until summer, and Valium was eaten like Pez. And when things got dull, there was always the vintage electroshock therapy machine under the stairs...... Running with Scissors is at turns foul and harrowing, compelling and maniacally funny. But above all, it chronicles an ordinary boy's survival under the most extraordinary circumstances." Catalog summary.
Michael Chabon - Wonder Boys
"A modern classic, now in a welcome new edition,Wonder Boys firmly established Michael Chabon as a force to be reckoned with in American fiction. At once a deft parody of the American fame factory and a piercing portrait of young and old desire, this novel introduces two unforgettable characters: Grady Tripp, a former publishing prodigy now lost in a fog of pot and passion and stalled in the midst of his endless second book, and Grady's student, James Leer, a budding writer obsessed with Hollywood self-destruction and struggling with his own searching heart...[readers]will find...elegant imagination, bold humor, and undeniable warmth at work in Wonder Boys. "[A] wise, wildly funny story . . . Chabon is a flat-out wonderful writer- evocative and inventive, pointed and poignant." -Chicago Tribune "Whether making us laugh or making us feel the breathtaking impermanence of things, Michael Chabon keeps us wide awake and reading." -All Things Considered "Beguiling and wickedly smart . . . There is first-rate satirical farce in Chabon's novel but essentially it is something rarer: satirical comedy." -Los Angeles Times Book Review" Catalog summary.
Douglas Coupland - Life After God
"Coupland's Generation X and Shampoo Planet explored the ennui of a generation of young adults, reared on a promiscuous diet of mass culture, who regard politics, sex, the job market, global events and religion with the same degree of ironic apathy. His new collection of stories offers variations on that same theme, a series of loosely connected, escapist adventures in which a 30-year-old narrator flees a middling job and hits the road in quest of authentic spiritual experience, reflecting with mixed nostalgia and despair upon past events, from his insular suburban upbringing to his recently dissolved marriage. In the opening story, ``Little Creatures,'' the narrator, harassed by legal troubles and recriminating phone calls from his ex-wife, accompanies his young daughter on a car trip north from Vancouver into a primeval landscape enveloped in snow. After his car conks out in a desolate stretch of Nevada, the protagonist of ``In the Desert'' meets a wizened vagrant who feeds him cold fast-food before vanishing without a trace, leaving the narrator to muse about the transcendent value of ``small acts of mercy.'' Like Generation X , the margins of which held snippets of data and other visual aids, Life After God is illustrated with childlike drawings of cute animals, appliances, barren landscapes, road signs and other symbols, a faux naif touch that underscores Coupland's fetish for lost innocence. Although these tales of escape from the taint of middle-class culture and technology occasionally do strike a note of real feeling, they succeed less as an allegory for a postmodern, post-ironic spiritual life than as an amusing travelogue for jaded, pop-culturally literate couch potatoes."
Publishers Weekly Review.
Chuck Palahniuk - Fight Club
"In the world of Fight Club, healthy young people go to meetings of cancer support groups because only there can they find human warmth and compassion. It's a world where young men gather in the basements of bars to fight strangers "just as long as they have to." And it's a world where "nobody cared if he lived or died, and the feeling was fucking mutual." Messianic nihilist Tyler Durden is the inventor of Fight Club.
Soon thousands of young men across the country are reporting to their work cubes with flattened noses, blackened eyes, and shattered teeth, looking forward to their next bare-knuckle maiming. The oracular, increasingly mysterious Durden then begins to harness the despair, alienation, and violence he sees so clearly into complete anarchy. Every generation frightens and unnerves its parents, and Palahniuk's first novel is gen X's most articulate assault yet on baby-boomer sensibilities. This is a dark and disturbing book that dials directly into youthful angst and will likely horrify the parents of teens and twentysomethings. It's also a powerful, and possibly brilliant, first novel. --Thomas Gaughan" Booklist Review.
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