Thursday, June 10, 2010

Strange and Heartbreaking

I will say right now that this entry should and will be an Amazon Listmania but, I want info about these books to be available to those who casually visit my blogs as well as those who seek out my reviews on Amazon. My girlfriend's grandmother was wondering about what I wrote and while she was very polite and not at all derisive, took a look at Bizarro fiction and could not quite get it. And I do not blame her. I don't blame anyone for not being able to understand it immediately. Any genre with book titles like Assgoblins of Auschwitz and Baby Jesus Buttplug will raise eyebrows in positive and negative ways and it could look like we're more about nonsense than self expression and exploring life's strangeness or it could look like we're about gore and farting, which in part we are, even though it's in the service of expressing certain ideas and creating a unique atmosphere. Here is a list of Bizarro books that are more about deep, emotional resonance than about grossing people out, making them laugh or terrifying them, although these books might also do that.

House of Houses by Kevin L. Donihe
The Amazon page featuring my review:

House of Houses is funny but also heartbreaking and devastating. It is a story about man in love with a house, a love that nature and Heaven itself don't want to happen. Can this love make it? What if it doesn't? Does it matter? House of Houses poses all of these questions, leaving you to answer them and to feel the repercussions.

The Haunted Vagina by Carlton Mellick III
How in God's name can a book called The Haunted Vagina make you feel anything but the urge to let out a juvenile titter? It tells the story of a man whose girlfriend's vagina makes horrible noises. It hurts their sex life, it scares him to death and it leaves him wondering if the relationship can survive. But, he does something brave and absurd, he explores the mysterious landscape inside her, discovering a ghostly world and a mysterious girl who wants him to stay. The Haunted Vagina is the story of a man trapped in the dark mysteries of his relationship in the unexplored, perverse spaces that make things fall apart. More sad and beautiful than it is funny or gross, which is an accomplishment.

Zerostrata by Andersen Prunty
Zerostrata is a book simultaneously wacky and Capraesque, a book that in my opinion hearkens back to the early films of Terry Gilliam as well as movies like Harvey. It is the story of a young man who moves back to his depressionchoked hometown and begins fixing up his old treehouse. As he fixes the treehouse, he sees a young woman outside dancing naked and follows her, falling in love with her. It is not without complications, it is not without pratfalls, it is not without pathos, it is not without humor and it is certainly not without beauty. This book is a triumph.

Piecemeal June by Jordan Krall
Piecemeal June is not for everyone. It is an often disgusting piece of grindhouse noir, full of sexually explicit material, scatology and abject strangeness. It concerns a living sextoy escaping from the grasp of an extradimensional pornographer and the loser who falls in love with her and must risk his life to protect her. At the core of this is one of the most tender love stories of any genre that I have ever read and proof that beauty can shine in a world of filth, which is a central theme of the book itself.

Archelon Ranch
It might be obnoxious for me to have my own book on this list, but I feel it's worth using as an example. Archelon Ranch features dinosaurs, zombies, humanoid insects, the worst shopping mall on Earth and a young man who at the beginning of the book has become one with the soul of a fedora. But at the core of this book is the story of two men looking for Heaven and seeking fairness in a world created by an author whose own neuroses might make it hard for him to write about joy. This is my best book yet and I think you should give it a chance.

So, here's five books that show that Bizarro fiction is about emotional truths found in a world that does not make sense not just about filth and weirdness. If books with strange plots that depict reality and emotional reality more accurately than so called realist novels, Bizarro fiction might be of interest to you.

1 comment:

article said...

I can dig bizaare fiction. I can even say I have a special affinity to that kind of genre. Thanks for your time in sharing these five books.
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