Ah, classic literary fiction. It can be so wonderful, but at times dense, leaving us wishing for a guide to lead us through the venerable prose. Enter: Italian artist and writer Francesco D'Isa, who reviews the classics in a candid, tongue-in-cheek (and very short) way. We're happy to bring his column, "Very Short Reviews of Difficult Books," to English language readers! Check back here every Wednesday for three new reviews from Francesco.
The Purple Cloud by Matthew Phipps Shiel
What is the best ingredient in a realistic post-apocalyptic novel? A crazy narrator/protagonist. Our “hero by elimination” thinks randomly and acts erratically, insomuch as he makes you wonder if the author is also mad.
Plot: A guy reaches the North Pole and a toxic cloud kills all living creatures except him and a Turkish princess.
Rating: 78 out of 100
Les Enfants Terribles by Jean Cocteau
A menage with four people: a brother, a sister, a guy and a girl. They all live in the same room where children’s games take an adult turn. This story is how I imagine the childhood of the two killers in the film Funny Games (if they were more likable).
Plot: Two brothers and two friends live in one room, then almost everyone dies.
Rating: 92 out of 100
Extinction by Thomas Bernhard
Bernhard hates everything, but he does it so well that reading him is always enjoyable (or even funny, if you surrender to irony).
Plot: The narrator speaks ill of his recently deceased parents.
Rating: 89 out of 100
Past Very Short Reviews of Difficult Books:
Ready to add some old school titles to your reading list? Check back next week for some more Very Short Reviews of Difficult books, and in the meantime, why not catch up on some lighter fare on our Everything Romance page?