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Illicit Fiction

Transgressive fiction beyond Palahniuk, Burroughs and Bukowski.

Ballard, J.G.
Concrete Island
In this haunting allegory, a car wreck leaves a man injured and stranded on a freeway island, where his isolation and captivity lead to psychological and situational horror.
 
Carroll, Jim
The Basketball Diaries
High school student Jim Carroll seems headed for a bright basketball career until pressures from his coach, mom, and school accumulate, and Jim finds solace in all the wrong places.
 
Coupland, Douglas
Hey Nostradamus!
After three suburban school shooters kill a pregnant and secretly married classmate, who is at odds with a Christian youth group, four characters narrate the aftermath beyond the neat, news-covered backlash of heroes and villains.
 
Dunn, Katherine
Geek Love
Art and Lily, owners of Binewski's Fabulon, a traveling carnival, decide to breed their own freak show by creating genetically altered children through the use of experimental drugs.
 
Ellis, Bret Easton
The Rules of Attraction
A sordid and darkly funny tale of a love triangle between three self-absorbed and privileged college students.
 
Hempel, Amy
The Collected Stories of Amy Hempel
In short stories like “Three Popes Walk Into a Bar” and “The Lady Will Have the Slug Louie,” Hempel describes complex characters in grim situations with trademark minimalism
 
Johnson, Denis
Jesus’ Son: Stories
The unnamed narrator in Jesus' Son lives through a car wreck and a heroin overdose, among other exquisite tragedies.
 
Murakami, Haruki
The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle
After losing his job, cat, and wife, Japanese everyman Toru Okada is pulled into a series of bizarre encounters with everyone from a pair of psychic sisters, to a morbid teenager, to a creepy and otherworldly politician.
 
Selby Jr., Herbert
Requiem for a Dream
Two young hoods, Harry and Tyrone, and a girlfriend fantasize about scoring a pound of uncut heroin and getting rich. Unfortunately, their habit gets the better of them.
 
Welsh, Irvine
The Bedroom Secrets of the Master Chefs
A restaurant inspector in search of his father finds life-ravaging clues in a celebrity chef’s memoir. As he drinks and beds his way from Edinburgh to San Francisco, he struggles with his rival and opposite, a colleague whose own circumstances will force him to make a decision.
 

Updated: 08/20/2011