Off-beat, Eclectic, Quirky, Slightly Askew Fiction

Parlor Games

By Mavis Cheek

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"Celia - housewife, mother, wonderful cook - lives in Bedford Park, London, where the major worries are dailies, private schooling and the misplaced zeal of neighbourhood watch vigilantes. She is celebrating her 40th birthday. The armpit of the English bourgeoisie never felt snugger."
(Known in the U.K. as Parlour Games)

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Pest Control

By Bill Fitzhugh

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"Bob Dillon can't get a break. A down-on-his-luck exterminator, all he wants is his own truck with a big fiberglass bug on top -- and success with his radical new, environmentally friendly pest-killing technique. So Bob decides to advertise. Unfortunately, one of his flyers falls into the wrong hands. Marcel, a shady Frenchman, needs an assassin to handle a million-dollar hit, and he figures that Bob Dillon is his man.

"Through no fault -- or participation -- of his own, this unwitting pest controller from Queens has become a major player in the dangerous world of contract murder. And now Bob's running for his life through the wormiest sections of the Big Apple -- one step ahead of a Bolivian executioner, a homicidal transvestite dwarf, meatheaded CIA agents, cabbies packing serious heat ... and the world's number-one hit man, who might just turn out to be the best friend Bob's got."

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Practical Magic

By Alice Hoffman

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For more than two hundred years, the Owens women had been blamed for everything that went wrong in their Massachusetts town. And Gillian and Sally endured that fate as well; as children, the sisters were outsiders. Their elderly aunts almost seemed to encourage the whispers of witchery, but all Gillian and Sally wanted was to escape. One would do so by marrying, the other by running away. But the bonds they shared brought them back--almost as if by magic...

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Rapture

By David Sosnowski

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A virus is stalking America, but instead of killing the sufferers, it makes them sprout wings. Thus, a new race is born--as is a new form of racism--Angelism.

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Ray in Reverse

By Daniel Wallace

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"Sitting in Last Words group where everyone is recounting their last words on earth, Ray is embarrassed. He didn't declare his love. He didn't say anything symbolic. He didn't reveal his benevolence or goodwill. In fact, he didn't even finish his sentence. His words didn't measure up, and now he can't seem to get them out of his head. Now, in Heaven, he has time to reflect on his short life of fifty years. This is the darkly humorous story of that life, told backward."
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She Flew the Coop: Life, Death, Sex and Recipes in Limoges, Louisiana

By Michael Lee West

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Vangie Nepper and her husband search for love outside the home and gossip about their neighbors in a sharp, humorous portrayal of life in a friendly but strait-laced Louisiana town in the fifties.

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Spilling Clarence

By Anne Ursu

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"What if you could suddenly remember everything that ever happened to you, every joy and every sorrow that you had ever endured? Would it be a blessing--or a curse? This is the fate of the residents of the town of Clarence, who fall under the spell of a strange and powerful drug that unlocks their memories. The past comes flooding back without the buffer of time, and the townspeople, young and old, find themselves awash in their own reminiscences--of love and death, of war and childhood, of happiness they've experienced, and sins they've committed."
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The Afterlife Diet

By Daniel Pinkwater

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In a heaven reserved for the obese, Milton Green, a second-rate editor who died under mysterious circumstances, ponders his life, his romance with an equally obese woman, and the conditions of his demise.

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The Buzzing

By Jim Knipfel

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"Meet Roscoe Baragon–crack reporter at a major (well, maybe not that major) metropolitan newspaper. Baragon covers what is affectionately called the Kook Beat–where the loonies call and tell him in meticulously deranged detail what it’s like to live in their bizarre and lonely world. Lately Baragon’s been writing stories about voodoo curses and alien abductions; about fungus-riddled satellites falling to earth and thefts of plumbing fixtures from SRO hotels by strange aquatic-looking creatures. Not exactly New York Times material.

"Maybe it’s the radioactive corpse that puts him over the edge. Or maybe it’s the guy who claims to have been kidnapped by the state of Alaska! But Baragon is now convinced that a vast conspiracy is under way that could take the whole city down–something so deeply strange that it could be straight out of one of the old Japanese monster movies that he watches every night before he goes to sleep. But stuff like this only happens in the movies. Right?"

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The Free Fall of Webster Cummings

By Tom Bodett

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Losing his arm in an Alaskan machinery accident, Ed Flannigan moves to Oregon, where he confronts New Age colonists, organic farmers, and a cranky guardian angel who resides in a peach tree.

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