My Top 4 Transgressive Authors

Definition: Transgressive literature is a genre that focuses on characters who feel confined by the norms and expectations of society and who break free of those confines in unusual and/or illicit ways. Protagonists in Transgressive literature are in one form or other rebelling against society.  Due to this they may appear to be anti-social, nihilistic or even sociopathic.

These are my top 4 Transgressive authors. Click on the book links to read my reviews.


Charles Bukowski

Charles Bukowski August 16th 1920 – March 9th 1994

Heavily influenced by his home city of Los Angeles, Bukowski wrote about disillusionment, alcohol consumption, women, a loathing of authority and the dehumanising nature of low-level work, all presented in his unique visceral writing style.  His seminal work, Post Office, is a semi-autobiographical account of his years of drudgery at the post office.  Bukowski is a cult figure, whose writing remains popular to this day.

My Favourite: Post Office

Would also recommend: Ham On Rye & Pulp



Bret Easton Ellis


 Born: March 7th 1964

Disillusioned, nihilistic and even sociopathic characters are the staple of cult author Bret Easton Ellis’s books. His most famous work, the infamous American Psycho, caused outrage even before it was published, as many in the literary establishment were disgusted with the sexual violence and what some viewed as the misogynistic nature of its contents.  American Psycho went on to become one of the most influential books of the nineties and secured the author his legacy as an important literary figure.

My Favourites: American Psycho & Less Than Zero



Chuck Palahniuk


 Born: February 21st 1962 

Palahniuk has constantly courted controversy with the content of his books.  Fight Club, which remains to this day his most celebrated effort, was viewed as extremely controversial when the film version was released in 1999, only six months after the Columbine school shootings.  Palahniuk’s dark and disturbing fiction has continued to scandalise ever since.  His book Haunted is often voted in polls as one of the most disturbing books ever written.

My Favourite: Fight Club

Would also recommend: Damned, Haunted & Rant



William S. Burroughs


February 5th 1914 – August 2nd 1997

William S. Burroughs, was a controversial character with a penchant for rent boys and heroin, who rebelled against the social norms of his era by writing about disillusionment, drugs and homosexuality.  Arguably his most famous book, the non-linear Naked Lunch was viewed as so scandalous at the time of its publication that it underwent a court case under U.S. obscenity laws.

My Favourite: Junky 

Would also recommend: Queer




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