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The Most Cryptic Titles in Literature (And What They Mean)

This week, Laurent Binet’s HHhH, which we can safely say is blessed with one of the strangest titles we’ve ever encountered, hit shelves. Inspired by the sheer weirdness of the title (we’ll explain what it means later), we’ve compiled a list of some of the most cryptic book titles in literature, from the confusingly short to the numerically based to the grammatically incomprehensible. We’ve left out children’s books, of course — as we’re sure you’re aware, the nonsense words and silly symbols gracing their covers just are too many to count. Click through to check out our list, and if we’ve missed your own favorite cryptic title, let us know in the comments.

HHhH, Laurent Binet

In Binet’s tour de force, “HHhH” stands for “Himmlers Hirn heisst Heydrich,” the German for “Himmler’s brain is called Heydrich.” That may be only slightly less cryptic, so here’s a little more: the novel revolves around a plot to kill Reinhard Heydrich, the Nazi Protector of Bohemia and Moravia known as “The Butcher” — but it’s also a super-meta saga of Binet’s writing process. Perhaps that’s the reason for all the abbreviation.

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