Posted by Ken on January 12, 1998 at 11:39:39:
In response to just wondering, written by Emmy on January 11, 1998 at 04:09:42
] What is the most twisted book you have ever read. . . . My point is that I like really messed up books, ie The World According to Garp, when I don't really want the think. at least they keep me entertained. Any ideas????
I haven't read Garp, so I don't know if you mean twisted characters, twisted plot, or twisted narrative architecture. But the book I would call the most twisted is surely Tristram Shandy, written by Laurence Sterne around 1768 or so. It's constantly self-referential, full of little doodles, asides to the reader, and specious publishing artefacts, such as blank, all black, and marbled pages. At one point Sterne, perhaps realizing he has gone too far, tries to be helpful to the reader by drawing a sort of diagram of how the plot has actually gone to that point; full of squiggles and curves, it resembles a demented worm track (-: Heck, it takes 200 pages before the main character and narrator even manages to get born! (Remembering a thread of several months ago, it also features extended performances of "Lillibulero" by My Uncle Toby.)
The second most twisted would probably be the 4 books of the Hitchiker's Guide to the Galaxy trilogy--I mean, a trilogy that has 4 titles? You know you're in strange country there from the get-go.
Faulkner probably gets at least an honorable mention (& he's a better writer than either of these to boot). Trying to figure out what actually happens in "The Bear" (& do get the long version out of Go Down, Moses with 5 chapters & not the cut-down short story version with 4) is surely enough penance for any literary sins one might have managed to acquire in even a long lifetime (-: But of course, there'd also be The Sound and the Fury, The Hamlet, The Town, and my personal favorite, Absalom, Absalom! for twisted plot unravelling.
For shorter works, The Crying of Lot 49 by Thomas Pynchon works for me; it's a mixture of fact and fiction, wrapped around the story of a metaphorical search for America, but you never quite can tell which is which at any given point. Besides, ya gotta love a heroine with a name like Oedipa Maas (-:
Or there's always Alice in Wonderland & Alice Through the Looking Glass. Everything is twisted in these, and they are immediately accessible. Really, did you think that Snarkhunter of all people would forget? (-;
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