"In Bed" with Clyde EdgertonAugust, 2011
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."
"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 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."
"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 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. "
"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