I always have a special place in my heart for the unusual. Strange stories make me think and excite me from the first page to the last. The best part is reading the final page and feeling a sense of wonder or unease afterwards. A good book must give you a lasting impression. I want you to think and feel the same things I did when I read these weird novels:
“Slapstick (Lonesome No More!)” by Kurt Vonnegut
Written by American storyteller Kurt Vonnegut in 1976, “Slapstick” is a sci-fi book depicting the author’s perception of loneliness in general. It was even adapted into a film titled “Slapstick of Another Kind” in 1982.
It is said that this novel contains a strange sneak peek on how close Vonnegut was with his sister named Alice. Vonnegut’s sibling suffered from cancer and died in 1958. Strangely, his sister’s husband also died but in an accident which happened days before Alice’s death. As a result of the untimely death of two parents, Vonnegut decided to adopt and raise the children.
In the story, Vonnegut and Alice transform into ugly fraternal twins referred to as the Swains living in a post-apocalyptic future. But when their minds are combined, they transform into geniuses. While reading this book, I could not help but feel a sense of depression and grief in many lines. However, Vonnegut’s humor and weirdness emerging from time to time on the pages could really elevate a reader’s experience.
“Jamestown” by Matthew Sharpe
A story of survival, “Jamestown” starts with “settlers” arriving in Virginia from the apocalyptic area of Manhattan. The survivors aim to abuse the Indians owning the place, search for oil, and create a whole new colony. Unfortunately, odds are not in their favor.
Good thing that a character named Pocahontas provides light on such a dark premise. Funny, Pocahontas speaks Algonquin, Old English, Ebonics and Valley Girl – even in just one sentence sometimes! Another ridiculous part is Pocahontas getting intimate with another survivor named Johnny Rolfe through IM and SMS, ultimately leading to telepathy.
The weirdest scenes were told in detail which I love. One thing I can’t forget is one survivor slowly losing his body parts. I also couldn’t control laughing out loud on some outrageous scenes. It is crazy how Matthew Sharpe can tell a story in a very serious and, at the same time, hilarious way.
“Mr. Fox” by Helen Oyeyemi
This novel is hard to beat. Because of “Mr. Fox,” Helen Oyeyemi won the Hurston/Wright Legacy Award for Fiction. She was also considered to be one of the greatest young British writers by Granta. Another unforgettable work of hers is “What Is Not Yours Is Not Yours.”
Mr. Fox is a famous writer who loves to kill the heroines in his stories. But, his muse named Mary suddenly becomes a real woman and turns him into a character in a story. She dares him to find her in the story despite how far they are in space and time. Both of them should aim to be with each other no matter what.
As if the story is not complicated enough, Mr. Fox’s wife Daphne finally believes that her husband has another woman. She manages to enter Mr. Fox and Mary’s great challenge. In the end, Mr. Fox has to choose between the woman of his dreams and the woman who is actually real.
No wonder Oyeyemi received all of those acknowledgements and awards. “Mr. Fox” easily became one of my most favorite books. I’m really choosy when it comes to romance novels but with a hint of peculiarity in the story – count me in!
“God Help the Child” by Toni Morrison
Written by American author Toni Morrison, “God Help the Child” is the writer’s 11th book which was released in 2014. Its original and more preferred title is “The Wrath of Children.”
The first pages already indicate that the novel is all about race. Lula Ann Bridewell is a stunning, beautiful young woman with an unforgettable skin color called blue-black. Sadly, her light-skinned parents abuse and neglect her because of shame. Still, Lula is optimistic, calling herself “Bride” and wearing only white dresses to enhance the dark color of her skin.
Aside from Bride, another interesting and unforgettable character here is her mother whom she calls Sweetness. Sweetness has a memorable character development that you will always remember.
“Remainder” by Tom McCarthy
The third novel written by British writer Tom McCarthy in 2001, “Remainder” was not published until the French Metronome Press produced a limited number of 750 copies in 2005. Interestingly, the traumatized narrator is never named in the story. But, he gains a big settlement after one accident. The story develops when he becomes obsessed recreating events he still remembers before the accident. The narrator only remembers that something fell from the sky when he lost many of his memories. So, he tried to regain memories by paying people to reenact remembered moments with him.
The novel is so catchy for the readers that McCarthy achieved the Believer Book Award in 2007. Basically, it focuses on themes such as memory, amnesia, trauma and repetition of actions. It also has a movie adaptation by Israeli director Omer Fast in 2015.
“Long Division” by Kiese Laymon
Kiese Laymon’s first book tells two interconnected stories rolled into one plot. The first story of “Long Division” sets in the year 2013 when a teenage boy becomes an instant YouTube star because of his breakdown on television. City Coldson’s online celebrity status happens after a quiz competition shown on TV.
The second story emerges when City receives a weird book titled “Long Division.” He has no idea who the author is. Next, he is sent to his grandmother’s home located in a small village of Melahatchie. There, young Baize Shephard just disappeared.
As the story progresses, City realizes that the book’s main character is also named City Coldson. The catch is – the book’s setting is 1985. I know, too complicated, right? Well, everything that occurs in the actual “Long Division” novel has something to do with the little girl’s disappearance. From start to finish, Laymon managed to fully intrigue me. I finished the whole book fast since I had to sleep. Exactly, this novel is hard to put down.
See how interesting these novels are? I just get sick easily with cliché stories. Unique stories, no matter how unusual, are the best in keeping readers interested.