A few weeks ago, this cease and desist letter from Jack Daniels to author Patrick Wensink caused quite a stir within the Bizarro literary community, for about an hour. Then the news went viral. For independent presses and publishers like Lazy Fascist, any publicity is generally good publicity, but this — especially for the Bizarro community — was unprecedented.
Bizarro Literature is still a relatively new and unknown genre, at least to the mainstream, possibly in part because it’s difficult to define. Though it may sound like some sort of exclusive and super-strange underground literary movement, it in fact encompasses many kinds of fiction — all of it weird. In an attempt to elucidate through example, we’ve collected a list of eleven Bizarro books that are representative of the genre after the jump. NB: this is by no means an all-inclusive list, so if you feel we missed a book or author, then let us know in the comments!
Person by Sam Pink
How can you tell a story that is about nothing? Sam Pink’s Person, the Bizarro equivalent of Albert Camus’ The Stranger (as if The Stranger wasn’t already strange enough), does just that. Person is written in the first person, and it’s about a person, living in Chicago. That’s it — or at least, that’s about as much as we can say about it. Take this sentence though: “I live in Chicago and I don’t get along with a lot of people and the reasons are always new and wonderful.” It’s poetry that reads like a book — or maybe vice versa. This is existentialist Bizarro Literature at its finest.