The Greeks loved dark comedies, and so do we! There’s just something about the blend of the absurd and the obscene that’s captured our attention through the ages. And is it any wonder? Too much levity, and life becomes a joke. Not enough levity, and you’ll never get out alive. At least that’s what bugs bunny said. It seems to be that a healthy amount of sentimentality and humor in the right doses might just get you through life in one piece. Luckily for the readers of the world, there’s more than enough darkly funny books out there to make you laugh and cry and cry and laugh.
If you need a book to do just that, Book of the Month is here to help. Book of the Month is a great book subscription service which delivers books right to your door! Every month, their panel of esteemed judges chooses five books to be featured in that month’s box. As a subscriber, you can select your three favorite of the five by the 6th of the month, and your books are on their way the next day.
So which darkly funny books do they offer?
The Association of Small Bombs by Karan Mahajan
Karan Mahajan established himself to be a strong social satirist in his first novel, Family Planning, about the comic aspects of New Dehli family life. In his second novel, Mahajan turns his gaze to the ripple effect of a terrorist attack in a market. The subject matter begs the question; how will Mahajan make use of the comic lens in dealing with such a tragedy? Apparently, he gave that quite a bit of thought. Mahajan gets as close to the psyches’ of the terrorists as any novelist would dare to go, and somehow manages to inject levity into an otherwise horrific tragedy. Book of the Month Judge Alexander Chee writes “Mahajan has set a heartbreakingly true and daring novel along that powerful topic [terror], one that I think you’ll find necessary – a novel that can truly help us understand ourselves, and others, in the dangerous world in which we live.”
The Wangs VS. the World by Jade Chang
If you’re looking for something a little less morose, definitely check out ‘The Wangs vs The World’. Jade Chang’s debut novel follows the wild life of a former cosmetics tycoon, whose family and career are left in shambles following the 2008 financial crisis. Actress and Book of the Month Judge Constance Wu writes that “this novel is filled with heart, history, and humor. It is a worthy and exciting story.” Our protagonist, Charles Wang, ends up taking his disjointed family on a bit of a road trip- all the way to China. Charles and his family attempt to get back to their roots. Chang turns her wry and sharp eye to the follies of corporatism, the modern art world, and the difficulties of keeping a family together.
A Gambler’s Anatomy by Jonathan Lethem
Lethem has been in the business of writing zany, genre bending novels since his debut in the mid-90’s. His latest book, which follows the misadventures of a telepathic gambling addict named Bruno Alexander, is no exception to his weird and diverse catalogue. Readers will get a glimpse of the darkly comic gambling world, from Singapore to Berlin. This one is a wild and dark adventure that you don’t wanna miss! “In Lethem’s hands,” writes Book of the Month Judge Anthony Bourdain, “Bruno’s trajectory is wrenching, hilarious, and oddly familiar, a wholly entertaining tragicomedy by a master of his craft.”
Every Man a Menace by Patrick Hoffman
From the seedy underbelly of the gambling world to the seedy underbelly of the San Francisco ecstasy-smuggling ring, author Patrick Hoffman knows crime. He doesn’t just write about it: he fights it. In Brooklyn, to be precise, where he is detective- though he is an equally skilled writer. His new novel, Every Man a Menace, tackles the dangerous proliferation of the drug known as Molly in San Francisco, bolstered by a story of betrayal, murder, and conspiracy. Book of the Month Judge Sarah Weinman writes that the drug “unites all of the characters, whether they are snorting it, selling it, stealing it, or getting killed for it. For a drug that professes to give pleasure, the pain is major-league.” Hoffman’s book is a must read!
Fall Guy by James Lasdun
Still haven’t gotten your crime fill after Every Man a Menace? Well, leave it to James Lasdun to slake your thirst for suspense! His new novel, The Fall Guy, is a tantalizing tale of love, betrayal, greed, guilt and infidelity that will keep you up thoroughly engrossed! The story follows a couple’s romantic retreat to a mountainside cabin, that is compromised by the addition of a third party: the husband’s cousin. The cousin seems to cause real tension between the pair, but where is the real source of tension? Is he compromising their marriage, or just dredging up dark secrets?
Stay up to date on the best new books of the month – through Book of the Month.
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