10 Best Absurdist Novels

10 Best Absurdist Novels

Satirical, darkly funny, nihilistic: If you are questioning the meaning of life, then you will want to put all 10 of these absurdist novels on your TBR list.

1. A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole

“An American comic masterpiece.”

2. Island of the Sequined Love Nun by Christopher Moore

“Take a wonderfully crazed excursion into the demented heart of a tropical paradise—a world of cargo cults, cannibals, mad scientists, ninjas, and talking fruit bats.”

3. One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest by Ken Kesey

“In this classic novel, Ken Kesey’s hero is Randle Patrick McMurphy, a boisterous, brawling, fun-loving rebel who swaggers into the world of a mental hospital and takes over… But this defiance, which starts as a sport, soon develops into a grim struggle, an all-out war between two relentless opponents: Nurse Ratched, backed by the full power of authority, and McMurphy, who has only his own indomitable will.”

4. In the Weeds by Mark Ozeroff

“An absurdist tale of gas, grass, ass, and Vietnam. War has made Air Force pilot Slats Kisov an adrenaline junkie. Using his exceptional low-and-slow flying skills, he smuggles marijuana into Florida from the Bahamas. Will Slats’ former battles with the Viet Cong, hijackers, PTSD, and Mother Nature prepare him for his most perilous battle of all―the one he must wage against Chief Bobby Ray Pistle? Strap yourself in and get ready for a bumpy ride. And one spectacular landing!”

5. Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas by Hunter S. Thompson

“This cult classic of gonzo journalism is the best chronicle of drug-soaked, addle-brained, rollicking good times ever committed to the printed page. It is also the tale of a long weekend road trip that has gone down in the annals of American pop culture as one of the strangest journeys ever undertaken.”

6. The Yiddish Policemen’s Union by Michael Chabon

“At once a gripping whodunit, a love story, and an exploration of the mysteries of exile and redemption, The Yiddish Policemen’s Union is a novel only Michael Chabon could have written.”

7. Catch-22 by Joseph Heller

“Fifty years after its original publication, Catch-22 remains a cornerstone of American literature and one of the funniest—and most celebrated—books of all time. In recent years it has been named to “best novels” lists by Time, Newsweek, the Modern Library, and the London Observer.”

8. Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut

Slaughterhouse-Five, an American classic, is one of the world’s great antiwar books. Centering on the infamous firebombing of Dresden, Billy Pilgrim’s odyssey through time reflects the mythic journey of our own fractured lives as we search for meaning in what we fear most.”

9. Gravity’s Rainbow by Thomas Pynchon

10. The Journeyer by Gary Jennings

“Marco Polo was nicknamed “Marco of the millions” because his Venetian countrymen took the grandiose stories of his travels to be exaggerated, if not outright lies. As he lay dying, his priest, family, and friends offered him a last chance to confess his mendacity, and Marco, it is said, replied ‘I have not told the half of what I saw and did.'”

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IN THE WEEDS by Mark Ozeroff