Black Humour

My second book, Necropolis (Release date: April 24th) is a humorous work of dark fiction about a sociopath named Dyson, who works for the Burials and Cemeteries department in his local council.  This week’s blog post is dedicated to the black humour genre.

The Encyclopaedia Britannica defines black humour (black comedy) – As writing that juxtaposes morbid or ghastly elements with comical ones that underscore the senselessness or futility of life.

(Note: Click on links to read my review of the given book)

Prior to the 1960’s the term black comedy was not commonly used.  Early exponents include Joseph Heller, Nathanael West and Vladimir Nabokov (Lolita), Thomas Pynchon and Kurt Vonnegut.

It could be argued that the antecedents of the genre include the 5th Century BC Greek comedian Aristophanes and Voltaire’s seminal work, Candide.

Contemporary authors who utilise black humour in their writing include Irvine Welsh, Bret Easton Ellis (American Psycho, Less Than Zero & Glamorama), Andrey Kurkov (Death And The Penguin) and Chuck Palahniuk (Fight Club, Haunted, Damned, DoomedChoke).

BlackHumour2

The following is a short extract from my forthcoming book, Necropolis.

Why, when I work in Burials and Cemeteries, is everyone always so alive?  Take this morning for instance.  Council workers mingle incessantly in the passageways, talking animatedly about the usual banalities; Christmas shopping, weekend plans and family updates – anything other than work.  The telephone rings remorselessly, the in-tray creaks under its heavy burden and there are requests too.  Frank asking me to proof-read a sheltered housing proposal document, the education department with a question about Sage, and Grace, appearing at my desk, crucifix dangling from her neck, requesting that I speak to a Guyanese council leisure facility user on the telephone in French.  On such a sunny day I only wish I were alone in Newton Old, perched on a grave, reading a newspaper and drinking a cafe latte extra hot with soy milk from Starbucks.

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