Dark Humor

Playland

By John Gregory Dunne

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From Hollywood in the 1940s to America in the 1990s, this novel details fame and its excesses, honor and personal betrayal, and a search for what may or may not be the truth. A screenwriter, Jack Broderick, stumbles upon Blue Tyler, the legendary former child star, and searches for answers to questions unasked for decades.
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Election, a Novel

By Tom Perrotta

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This is a darkly comic novel about a high school presidential election. Told in alternating voices by Mr. M – the teacher everybody loves, Tracy – the smart and popular girl with a dark secret, Paul – the good natured athlete, and Tammy – Paul’s geeky younger sister.
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The Party, After You Left

By Roz Chast

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"...brings together the last nine years of cartoons from Roz Chast. Together these drawings, which originally appeared in the New Yorker, Scientific American, Redbook, and other publications, constitute a spot-on record of our increasingly absurd existence. As the twenty-first century begins, we can only be grateful that Roz Chast is here to tackle some of the tough themes of the times: genetically altered mice, birthday parties from hell, and comfort drinks in the age of insecurity."

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Vernon God Little

By D.B.C. Pierre

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"In the town jail of Martirio, Texas--under the terrifying care of the dynastic Gurie family, and wearing only his New Jack trainers and underpants--15-year-old Vernon Little is in trouble. His friend, the mysterious Jesus, has just blown away 16 of his classmates before turning the gun on himself."
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Motherless Brooklyn

By Jonathan Lethem

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"A black comedy in New York's criminal underworld. The twitching hero--he suffers from Tourette's syndrome--is one of four misfits who were rescued from an orphanage by a man who gave them jobs in his detective agency. Now the man has been killed and the boys intend to get the killer."

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Give Us a Kiss: A Country Noir

By Daniel Woodrell

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Novelist Doyle Redmond of California, whose whodunits are getting nowhere, returns to the Ozarks in the hope that a stay in his native land will provide inspiration to achieve fame.
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The Many Aspects of Mobile Home Living

By Martin Clark

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"Hung over, beaten by the unforgiving sun, bitter at his estranged wife, and dreading the day’s docket of petty criminal cases, Judge Evers Wheeling is in need of something on the morning he's accosted by Ruth Esther English. Ruth Esther's strange story certainly is something, and Judge Wheeling finds himself in uncharted territory. Reluctantly agreeing to help Ruth Esther retrieve some stolen money, he recruits his pot-addled brother and a band of merry hangers-on for the big adventure."

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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 Road to Wellville

By T. Coraghessan Boyle

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"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."

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Geek Love

By Katherine Dunn

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"...the story of the Binewskis, a carny family whose mater- and paterfamilias set out–-with the help of amphetamine, arsenic, and radioisotopes–-to breed their own exhibit of human oddities. There’s Arturo the Aquaboy, who has flippers for limbs and a megalomaniac ambition worthy of Genghis Khan . . . Iphy and Elly, the lissome Siamese twins . . . albino hunchback Oly, and the outwardly normal Chick, whose mysterious gifts make him the family’s most precious–-and dangerous–-asset. As the Binewskis take their act across the backwaters of the U.S., inspiring fanatical devotion and murderous revulsion; as its members conduct their own Machiavellian version of sibling rivalry, Geek Love throws its sulfurous light on our notions of the freakish and the normal, the beautiful and the ugly, the holy and the obscene. Family values will never be the same."

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