Friday, March 14, 2014

And Now for Something Completely Similar....


I must be list-besotted. I found myself making another one in the wee hours, with this result: The 50 best comic novels I've read. (A couple are trilogies or quartets, so although there are 50 titles there are actually more than 50 books here.) Most but not all are English-language productions. Some also appear in my Top 60 list (see previous post). For the would-be comic novelist, they're essential reading. Most are deeply funny; all are worth a look. 

Kingsley Amis
Lucky Jim
One Fat Englishman
The Green Man
Girl, 20
The Old Devils

Martin Amis
Money
The Information

Samuel Beckett
Murphy
Watt
Malone Dies

Thomas Berger
Crazy in Berlin
Neighbors

Anthony Burgess
The Enderby Quartet
The Right to an Answer
The Wanting Seed

Anthony Cronin
The Life of Riley

G. V. Desani
All About H. Hatterr

Peter De Vries
The Blood of the Lamb
The Tunnel of Love
Reuben, Reuben

J. P. Donleavy
The Ginger Man

Henry Fielding
Tom Jones

Julian Gough
Jude: Level 1

Jaroslav Hacek
The Good Soldier Svejk

Joseph Heller
Catch-22
Something Happened

Howard Jacobson
Kalooki Nights
The Finkler Question
Zoo Time

Stephen Leacock
Nonsense Novels

Vladimir Nabokov
Pnin
Pale Fire

Flann O'Brien
At Swim-Two-Birds
The Poor Mouth
The Third Policeman

S. J. Perelman
Acres and Pains
Westward Ha!

Tom Sharpe
Wilt
Blott on the Landscape

Laurence Sterne
The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman

John Kennedy Toole
A Confederacy of Dunces

Mark Twain
The Innocents Abroad
A Tramp Abroad
Roughing It

Voltaire
Candide

Evelyn Waugh
A Handful of Dust
Scoop

P. G. Wodehouse
Thank You, Jeeves
The Code of the Woosters
Leave it to Psmith


Modesty inhibits me from including two other comic novels that have received considerable praise and that I'm quite fond of: my own Killoyle and Great Pint-Pulling Olympiad. In fact, Killoyle once ranked 13th of 100 funniest works of fiction in a survey of independent booksellers. You'll have to take my word for it, since I've lost the link.  

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