Vladimir Nabokov

NABOKV-L post 0027098, Wed, 6 Jul 2016 17:38:39 -0300

[old SIGHTING] List of 10 funniest books (Publishers Weekly,May

The 10 Funniest Books by Adam Ehrlich Sachs

7. Pale Fire by Vladimir Nabokov

Pnin, Nabokov’s more straightforward novel of émigré dislocation, might be
funnier joke for joke, but Pale Fireis, I think, more profoundly funny, more
fundamentally funny, since the funniness is built into the form itself: our
mad narrator Charles Kinbote constructs an entire world through a misreading
of John Shade’s poignant poem about the suicide of his daughter. (I’ve also
always liked this bit, from Kinbote interacting with his academic
colleagues: “Another tormentor inquired if it was true that I had installed
two ping-pong tables in my basement. I asked, was it a crime? No, he said,
but why two? ‘Is that a crime?’ I countered.”)

The other authors Adam Sachs selected are:

1. Walking by Thomas Bernhard

2. Watt by Samuel Beckett

3. House of Holes by Nicholson Baker

4. A House and Its Head by Ivy Compton-Burnett

5. The Parable of the Blind by Gert Hofmann

6. Today I Wrote Nothing: The Selected Writings of Daniil Kharms by Daniil


8. Bouvard and Pécuchet by Gustave Flaubert

9. The Prime of Miss Jean Brodieby Muriel Spark

10. The Sirens of Titan by Kurt Vonnegut

The writer ends his list noting that "No one needs another intro to
Vonnegut, so, instead, a random, nonchronological, nonexhaustive list of
some other writers who make me laugh: Gogol, Salinger, Barthelme, Philip
Roth, Flann O’Brien, Lydia Davis, George Saunders, Dahl, Donald Antrim,
Chris Bachelder, Sholem Aleichem, Elif Batuman, Patrick deWitt, Mallory
Ortberg, Dostoyevsky, Waugh, Proust, Gary Shteyngart, Moyshe Kulbak, Lars
Iyer, Nietzsche, Heller, Hamsun, Rivka Galchen, Padgett Powell, Cervantes,
Kafka, Jack Handey."

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