Monday, July 07, 2014

The Darkest Book You've Read

Phil says the darkest book he's ever read is THE DINNER by Herbert Koch. For me, it would be THE ROOM. Close runnerups would be WINTER'S BONE and THE DIARY OF ANNE FRANK.




What would you choose?

36 comments:

Anonymous said...

Good choices. I'll have to think about that. A couple of Stuart MacBride's mysteries set in Aberdeen, Scotland come to mind. Stories like "Moonshine" in Gil Brewer's REDHEADS DIE QUICKLY collection are about as dark as you can get.

I might have to go with Jim Thompson's A HELL OF A WOMAN.



Jeff M.

Nigel Bird said...

Never easy to pick a 'most' anything. I'm thinking 'I Was Dora Suarez' or maybe 'Knockemstiff'.

pattinase (abbott) said...

Always been afraid to read him! THE. Killer inside me sits on my shelf.

Al Tucher said...

I think I would have to go with GREAT EXPECTATIONS. There's no redemption for Pip after his bad choices.

pattinase (abbott) said...

And I would add TESS and JUDE, THE OBSCURE. Even without bad choices, they had it rough.

Margot Kinberg said...

Both The Dinner and Room really are awfully dark. My vote though really does go to The Killer Inside Me...

Charles Gramlich said...

The Killer inside me works for me.

George said...

THE ROAD is as bleak as it gets.

pattinase (abbott) said...

Phil's runner-up.

Cap'n Bob said...

American Psycho.

Richard said...

Barbara says STONE ANGEL was very dark.

pattinase (abbott) said...

The Margaret Laurence book? Love her books but they are dark!
The movie scared me to death, Bob

Anonymous said...

I might have picked THE ROAD too but it was too dark to read at that time.


Jeff M.

Richard said...

No, STONE ANGEL by Carol O'Connell.

pattinase (abbott) said...

Haven't read that one. I like her though but she is dark. THE CHALK GIRL is on my TBR.

Richard said...

It's part of the Kathleen Mallory series.

Graham Powell said...

Down By The River Where The Dead Men Go by George Pelecanos was pretty dark. His "hero" Nick Stefanos overhears a murder as he's lying in the grass, too drunk to stand.

Prashant C. Trikannad said...

1984?

Deb said...

It's interesting how some of the best-written books are also some of the darkest. I suppose they have to be well-written to hold the reader's attention against a story where there is no redemption or even a sliver of light. I'd choose John Fowles's The Collector where not only does a very sympathetic kidnapping victim die but as the book ends you realize the kidnapper is already eyeing his next victim.

pattinase (abbott) said...

All of Fowles stuff haunted me Especially THE MAGUS.

Dave Zeltserman said...

you've got Grimhaven by Charles Willeford and then you've got everything else. In the everything else category, 1984 isn't a bad choice.

Steve Oerkfitz said...

Journey to the End of Night by Celine or The Painted Bird by Kosinski.

pattinase (abbott) said...

WOW=have never read GRIMHAVEN. Never heard of it before. THE PAINTED BIRD sent me off to bed for a week.

pattinase (abbott) said...

The PELECANOS is also new to me. Where have I been?

Graham Powell said...

That was Pelecanos' third book, and he didn't really get noticed until King Suckerman, which was his 6th. The first three all feature Stefanos as the main character, and they're all good, though a little uneven.

pattinase (abbott) said...

I find all of his books pretty dark and have only read one, I think. THE NIGHT GARDENER.

Todd Mason said...

WAITING FOR NOTHING. Prashant's suggestion of the Orwell isn't to be slighted, though Zamayitin's WE might be even more powerful thus. THE DEATH MACHINE/ROGUE MOON by Algis Budrys. The first chapter of A FOR ANYTHING by Damon Knight, which is thereafter frittered away in a bad imitation of a Heinlein juvenile. Several works by Cornell Woolrich.

Todd Mason said...

THE PRICE OF SILENCE by Kate Wilhelm...which deals with the kind of thing Andrew Vachss does, only far less cartoonishly.

pattinase (abbott) said...

Phil throws out An Orchid for Mrs. Blandish.

Ben Ostrander said...

GRIMHAVENis available to read at the library holding Willeford's papers. He wrote to kill off a character. It didn't work. How about BLOOD MERIDIAN, OUTER DARK, or CHILD OF GOD all by McCarthy. SUMMER HOUSE WITH SWIMMING POOL by Koch is pretty dark. I think Pop. 1280 by Jim Thompson is really great for its flashs of humor in the blood and muck.

pattinase (abbott) said...

Yeah, I went to look for it and found that out. I'lll add in Coetze's DISGRACE and O'Connor's A GOOD MAN IS HARD TO FIND.
DISGRACE may not have a happy word in it.

Cap'n Bob said...

That's No Orchids For Miss Blandish.

pattinase (abbott) said...

Yep!

Mike D said...

DARK PLACES by Gillian Flynn. Couldn't finish it. Writing was fine, but just too raw and too dark and too sad. Whew. Needed to go out in the sun after.

pattinase (abbott) said...

Oh, I agree. Darker than GONE GIRL, which was pretty darn dark.

Travis Richardson said...

These 3 come to mind: BLOOD MERIDIAN is about evil consuming everything (good and evil), pitch blackness descends on the old west. KILLER INSIDE ME is quasi-sympathetic portrayal of a man rediscovering his repressed demon and the awful, bloody choices he makes. After reading LAST EXIT TO BROOKLYN, I think I was wary of humanity for about a week.