This amazing quote – which I would probably have used as a title at some point, regardless of what I was going to write underneath, comes from “ Lost in translation“, by Charlie Croker, a hilarious small book collecting mistakes and weird phrasing used abroad (but not exclusively). It had me in fits of laughter a few days ago, and I rarely laugh out loud while reading, which is a testimony to how great it is.
Anyway, one of the numerous quotes in that book, from a tailor in Rhodes, that states:“Order your summers suit. Because is big rush, we will execute customers in strict rotation.” reminded me just how much I adore dark, murky, often bloody humour. In books, in films, in the everyday life (the darker the joke, the better! is my motto, but then again you could argue this is job conditioning: nothing seems unfit for a conversation to a medical student). So I thought I would list a few books I’ve enjoyed in that category, and would love any ideas you might have to complete the list!
1) I just finished We have always lived in the Castle, by Shirley Jackson, which is indeed dark, and sad and claustrophobic, but often quite hilarious
2) A series of Unfortunate events and anything, in fact, by Lemony Snicket, which I read and reread so many times growing up
3) Good Omens, by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett, but you could probably include a lot of the Discworld Series as well, and American Gods, and The Graveyard Book (suitably Gothic)
4) A long way Down by Nick Hornby, which is about 4 suicidal people meeting on a rooftop on New Year’s Eve, and my favourite Hornby by far
5) Almost anything by Arto Paasilinna, a fantastic Finnish writer, who writes in a delightful style about murderous grannies, but, as I have gathered from Wikipedia, only two of his novels have been translated into English, which is a disastrous fact. In French, however, we are luckier, and get to enjoy Petits suicides entre amis (which roughly translates into “small suicides amongst friends”), again, about a group of suicidal people going on a bus tour to find the perfect moment for doing it together, and La Douce empoisonneuse (“The sweet poisoner”), about a charming old lady with a surprising ease with deadly substances.
6) Making History, By Stephen Fry. Which -often hilariously- answer the question “and what if Hitler had been eliminated?” (the answer isn’t very optimistic, if you’re wondering)
7) Most of Roald Dahl, but I think you should never miss an opportunity to mention his adult short stories, like Skin and other stories, which are brilliant.
And you could add a lot more, from Vonnegut to David Sedaris (I think I’ve only read one of his novels, and don’t remember much from it, would have to try another one), D F Wallace (especially Brief interviews with hideous men if you haven’t read it yet, and so many others.
Looking forward to complete this dark but funny list with any suggestions!