As followers of this blog know I am a big fan of dark humour. This week’s post is dedicated to 8 books containing dark humour – six that I have read and two that I have written. They are presented in no particular order. Click on the links to read my reviews.
Choke by Chuck Palahniuk
Choke is in essence a social commentary about our innate craving for attention and the fundamental nature of addiction. The episodic narrative is rife with humour of the darkest sort.
My Review: The protagonist, Victor Mancini, is a sex addict employed at an eighteenth-century historical re-enactment park. Victor attends various sexual addiction support groups, where he meets many of his sex partners. It was at one …(more)
Catch-22 by Joseph Heller
Based on Heller’s own experiences as a bombardier in WWII, this best-selling and controversial satirical anti-war novel is brimming with absurdist humour.
My Review: Set on the Mediterranean island of Pianosa during WWII, Catch-22 is about the exploits of the fictitious 256th Squadron. We follow protagonist Yossarian and his comrades’ farcical attempts to be declared mentally unfit in order …(more)
Post Office by Charles Bukowski
This fast-paced, iconic work is about the banality, hardship and dehumanisation of unskilled drudgery. The brutal and blunt narrative is replete with dark humour.
My Review: Henry Chinaski is a heavy drinking, womanising, race track frequenting low-life, who works at the post office. The story follows his menial existence of twelve-hour night shifts, sorting post, delivering mail, observing his fellow colleagues …(more)
Necropolis by Guy Portman
Brutal, bleak and darkly comical, Necropolis is a savage indictment of the politically correct, health and safety obsessed public sector.
Dyson Devereux’s life appears to be on track. He has a way with the ladies, impeccable good taste, and as the recently promoted head of Burials and Cemeteries at Newton Borough Council, a job that demands respect. But Dyson is becoming annoyed with …(more)
The Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka
The Metamorphosis is a bleak, existential nihilistic tale that comments on the human condition and the futility of life. This reader appreciated its dark humour.
My Review: Protagonist Gregor Samsa wakes up one morning to find that he has been transformed into a beetle. This awkward situation is exacerbated when Gregor’s boss turns up at his house seeking an explanation for his non-attendance at work …(more)
Invisible Monsters by Chuck Palahniuk
The book’s premise, the superficial vanity of the beauty industry, is used both to explore the unattractive side of human nature and, in customary Palahniuk fashion, to satirise society.
My Review: Shannon McFarland is a catwalk model, who is the centre of attention wherever she goes. That is until she ‘accidentally’ blasts her jaw shot off with a gun whilst driving down the highway. Shannon is left horribly disfigured and incapable of …(more)
Fear And Loathing in Las Vegas by Hunter S. Thompson
Fear And Loathing in Las Vegas is a humorous, ludicrous and on occasion repellent social commentary about the demise of the psychedelic, free loving dream of the sixties.
My Review: Hunter S. Thompson’s alter ego, journalist Raoul Duke, and his gargantuan Samoan attorney, Dr Gonzo, are on a drug-fuelled road trip through the desert, destination Las Vegas and the forthcoming Mint 400 desert motorbike race …(more)
Sepultura by Guy Portman
Compulsive and brimming with satirical wit, Sepultura is a caustic black comedy featuring an unforgettable sociopath. It was released last month (Jan 18).
Dyson Devereux is a busy man, with a challenging new job at Paleham Council and a young son. He would be coping just fine were it not for crass colleagues, banal bureaucracy and contemptible clothes. He is not going to take it lying down …(more)