"In Bed" with Clyde Edgerton

August, 2011
Clyde Edgerton North Carolina-born Clyde Edgerton turns to the rhythms and traditions of the rural South for stories and characters, always with a touch of poignant humor. His nine novels, including Walking Across Egypt, Raney, and The Bible Salesman, are full of Southern charm and the eccentric characters who populate small towns. His tenth novel, The Night Train, tells the story of a friendship between two teen boys, one black and one white, who find escape in their shared love of music in an insular community in the segregated South in 1963.

The novelist shares his five favorite comic novels. Edgerton writes, "The economy, the climate, the world—all are under worrisome scrutiny, so now's the time for a summer comic novel reading list. These five classic comic novels (from writers generally loved by other writers) might just help you escape onto a trampoline of laughs and, in some cases, new thinking."

Modern Baptists by James Wilcox
"In fictional Tula Springs, Louisiana, Bobby Pickens, 41, is in search of love. His half brother, FX, a drug-dealing ex-con, moves in with him. Some Flannery O'Connor fans may have missed this book and will want to read about flawed characters made by a writer who makes us laugh at ourselves and people we know."


Norwood by Charles Portis
"Norwood Pratt is an ex-Marine from Ralph, Texas. He lives in a small house with his sister, Vernell, and her husband, Bill Bird. The tone of the novel is there in those names. On a bus journey Norwood meets, among others, an educated chicken. The journey is the destination—as the saying goes."


Lucky Jim by Kingsley Amis
"Jim Dixon, a lecturer in a university in England, may be losing his job, and while he's aware of that, he keeps making mistakes. Jim is much like our funny secret selves, and we find ourselves in his skin at the same time we're laughing at him."


The Sharpshooter Blues by Lewis Nordan
"The second and third sentences of the book read like this:

Beavers had felled the trees, a few trees anyway, sweetgum and tupelo, and built dams and houses as big as igloos, or tepees; and they swam in and out, the size of collies. Turkey buzzards floated above the swamp like prayers and admired their own reflections in the water.

Nordan's hyperbole is sweet, bold, and beautiful, and this novel is as sad as it is hilarious. "


Candide by Voltaire
"It's refreshing to find that something written over 250 years ago can still be funny as hell. If you somehow missed this one...well, our time and our American culture are appropriate for a summer reading of it."


Though I'm naming comic novels here, I couldn't use the word "comic" and not mention The Complete Stories of Flannery O'Connor and Sugar Among the Freaks, a collection of short stories by Lewis Nordan. Open to any story for a night's entertainment and a felt need to read aloud to your lover, or to an educated chicken.

Vote for your own favorites on Listopia: Best Comic Novels



Comments (showing 1-10 of 10) (10 new)

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message 1: by Camilla (new)

Camilla The Ransom of Red Chief and other short stories by O. Henry Has to be added to my list!


message 2: by Camilla (new)

Camilla But Walking Across Egypt is truly a favcorite of mine. I need to read others of Mr. Edgerton's novels.
Oh, and Two Men and a Boat and a Dog is a chuckle maker.


message 3: by Mike (new)

Mike Oppenheim Killer Diller knocked me dead. I often read aloud my favorite novels to my wife. I re-read Killer
Diller to her, and she loved it. Then I re-read Lunch at the Piccadilly to her, and she loved that, too. I'm a big Clyde Edgerton fan.


message 4: by Stephen (new)

Stephen Friend Put Baja Oklahoma by Dan Jenkins, The Ginger Man by J. P. Donleavy and Catch 22 by Joseph Heller at the top of your list of funny books...


message 5: by G (new)

G Koralis My list, not limited to five, would include anything by Wodehouse; the Dublin Trilogy by Roddy Doyle; High Fidelity by Nick Hornby; A Confederacy of Dunces; and any of the Dortmunder novels by Donald Westlake.


message 6: by Jan (new)

Jan Carl hiassen can't write them fast enough for me


message 7: by Carolyn (new)

Carolyn Bay The mystery series by Janet Evanovich. I know they're murder mysteries, but they always make me laugh out loud. She's up to Seventeen. Start with the first one, One for the Money.


message 8: by Catherine (new)

Catherine For all who you Clyde Edgerton fans, come check out my adaptation of "Walking Across Egypt" - it opens at Barter Theatre in Abingdon, VA on February 14, 2013. Check out the link below to buy tickets!
http://www.bartertheatre.com/


message 9: by Catherine (new)

Catherine Camilla wrote: "But Walking Across Egypt is truly a favcorite of mine. I need to read others of Mr. Edgerton's novels.
Oh, and Two Men and a Boat and a Dog is a chuckle maker."


If you love "Walking Across Egypt," check out my adaptation premiering at Barter Theatre (Abingdon, VA) this February!
http://www.bartertheatre.com/


message 10: by Catherine (new)

Catherine Mike wrote: "Killer Diller knocked me dead. I often read aloud my favorite novels to my wife. I re-read Killer
Diller to her, and she loved it. Then I re-read Lunch at the Piccadilly to her, and she loved that..."


Come check out my adaptation of "Walking Across Egypt" at Barter Theatre (Abingdon, VA) opening this February!
http://www.bartertheatre.com/


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