20 Delightfully Quirky Novels That Will Remind You How Strange The World Really Is
Some days it's easy to forget that we're living in times worthy of a postmodern novel. If you need a reminder, I've got 20 quirky novels to show you how weird life is, and you're going to want to add them to your TBR.
I love quirky fiction, all the way from magical realism to the new weird. For this list, I've tried to keep things on the lighter side of quirk — think Matilda over Carrie — but please bear in mind that some of the stories below may veer off into unexpectedly grim or horrific territory. Most are genuinely hilarious, however, so I hope you'll forgive any dark dabblings.
It should also be noted that I may have played fast and loose with the "novel" concept here. The list below contains a short graphic novel, a play, two short-story collections, and a folding book that defies categorization. All are fiction, but many may not be the kind of fiction you imagine when you think of novels.
As always, this is not a comprehensive list. There are thousands of quirky novels out there, which means that the chances I included your favorite are slim to none. Please be sure to share your most beloved, odd reads with me on Twitter!
Here are the 20 quirky novels I think you should read to show you how weird life is:
1. 'Geek Love' by Katherine Dunn
This is not a book about nerds in love. The title of Katherine Dunn's 1989 novel refers to Al and Lil Binewski, ringmaster and geek — read: oral chicken decapitator extraordinaire — of a circus called Binewski's Fabulon, which is kept afloat by sideshow acts performed by their — ahem — strategically bred children.
2. 'The Insides' by Jeremy P. Bushnell
Ollie Krueger is a punk magician-turned-butcher who dreams of returning home to the husband and son she lost. Maja is a psychic mercenary hired to track down a very special knife that happens to be in the possession of Ollie's rival and co-worker. As the intrigue ramps up, it becomes clear that the story's minor players are willing to put any number of lives at risk for one magical artifact.
3. 'The Ultimate Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy' by Douglas Adams
Ordinary Englishman Arthur Dent becomes one of the last Earthlings alive when his secretly alien friend, Ford Prefect, rescues him from Earth's demolition just in the nick of time. Aboard the Heart of Gold, a ship driven by an Infinite Improbability Drive, Arthur spends his time bouncing around the Universe in search of the perfect cuppa.
The Ultimate Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy contains the first five books of Douglas Adams' Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy Trilogy.
4. 'The Heart Goes Last' by Margaret Atwood
When economic and environmental catastrophes devastate the world as we know it, a social experiment arises to provide for those willing to abide by its strange rules: couples must spend every other month in prison, and never, ever meet the alternates who live in their homes while they are away.