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I am in search of adult fiction with unusual narrators with a unique "voice" and perspective on the world - especially very bright children/teenagers (though in adult, not children's fiction). I really loved the narrators of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime and The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie, for instance. Thank you for any suggestions!
The Last Family in England by Matt Haig
Is from the perspective of a dog. Interesting read.
Screwed Up Life of Charlie The Second by Drew Ferguson
Perspective of a gay teenager ... really funny read.
Last Edited on: 4/23/10 2:59 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
A Complicated Kindness by Miriam Toews
a coming of age story told by a Mennonite girl in a small Canadian village late 70' early 80's
yes , very quirky and funny too
One of my all time favorite books is "Flowers for Algernon" by Daniel Keyes--it's an oldie--written in 1966.
Here's a description from Amazon:
"Following his doctor's instructions, engaging simpleton Charlie Gordon tells his own story in semi-literate "progris riports." He dimly wants to better himself, but with an IQ of 68 can't even beat the laboratory mouse Algernon at maze-solving:
I dint feel bad because I watched Algernon and I lernd how to finish the amaze even if it takes me along time.
Algernon is extra-clever thanks to an experimental brain operation so far tried only on animals. Charlie eagerly volunteers as the first human subject. After frustrating delays and agonies of concentration, the effects begin to show and the reports steadily improve: "Punctuation, is? fun!" But getting smarter brings cruel shocks, as Charlie realizes that his merry "friends" at the bakery where he sweeps the floor have all along been laughing at him, never with him. The IQ rise continues, taking him steadily past the human average to genius level and beyond, until he's as intellectually alone as the old, foolish Charlie ever was--and now painfully aware of it. Then, ominously, the smart mouse Algernon begins to deteriorate..."
Quirky; somewhat. Interesting; most definitely.
John Wheelwright in John Irving's "A Prayer for Owen Meany"
Two wonderful reads that everyone should taste at least once in a lifetime.
Last Edited on: 1/28/11 12:54 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
child/teen: "The Parable of the Sower" & "The Fledging" (found the latter a little disturbing at times) by Octavia Butler (sci-fi writer);
child/teen: "Oranges are not the Only Fruit" by Winterson;
teen: "Vernon God Little" (award-winner on my TBR list; looks very promising);
teen (in beginning) "I, Claudius" by Robert Graves;
child: the classics, of course: "To Kill a Mockingbird" & "Huck Finn";
"The White Tiger" by Adiga;
"Julian" by Gore Vidal (currently reading & love it);
"The Reluctant Fundamentalist" (notable book also on my TBR list; have heard good things);
autobio: "Dust Tracks on a Road" by Hurston;
autobio: "Detour : My Bipolar Road Trip in 4-D" by Simon;
"Invisible Man" by Ellison;
autobio: "Black Boy" by Wright;
autobio: "Black Like Me" by Griffin;
"Ishmael" by Quinn;
"Kindred" by Octavia Butler
Last Edited on: 11/7/10 2:01 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Recently finished The Highest Tide by Jim Lynch. As I posted in the Book of the Month thread, It's a "coming-of-age story narrated by a precocious, gawky 13-year-old boy in Puget Sound who is an insomniac, worships Rachel Carson, and is best friends with an elderly psychic; engaging, poignant, and worth reading."
Dahlgren by Samuel R. Delaney has the oddest, most beguiling and most illuminating narrator I?ve ever encountered. As the novel opens, he is stepping into a town that has been stricken by a mysterious disaster. For me the most intriguing aspect of this huge, rich, wonderful novel is the point of view of the narrator. At the beginning of the book, everything is experienced through his very narrow lens; we rely on his narrative for everything. As the story progresses, we find that his point of view is just that ? his point of view.
Red Earth and Pouring Rain by Vikram Chandra. The Library Journal review it thus: "... an example of magical realism with an Asian American twist, a monkey shot by a young man in Bombayturns out to be the latest reincarnation of a 17th-century poet and adventurer. The gods promise to spare the monkey's life if he tells a story, and his stirring tale of warriors and poets blends with the young man's account of three college students making their way across America." There are stories within his story and each of the stories has stories within it. One of the major stories is of two young boys and their dreams.
And the Ass Saw the Angel by NickCave. This is a brutal, bloody, filthy, vulgar and sometimes hilarious mockery of bigotry and religious zealotry. However, you will need the OED to get through it -- Mirriam Webster simply doesn't have the words in it that Cave uses. Amazon has many reviews that accuse Cave of making up words, but I managed to find every single word I didn't know (and there were a lot of them) in the OED. Additionally, if you are using "quirky" in the sense of being whimsical, this is not your book. If you mean "quirky" as more freakish, this book fits the bill. The narrator, Euchrid Eucrow, is a deaf-mute born to a mother who is perpetually drunk, even when she goes into labor, giving birth in the back of a junkyard car and a father who puts him and his dead twin in a shoe box when they are born and forgets him. He grows up (one cannot say he is raised) in a Southern town that is full of bigots and whose most decent person is the town whore. He is mocked and teased and tortured. He is a thoroughly vile and contemptible, but his voice is so plaintive and his hurt is so glaring that you can't help but be on his side. It's a difficult read and not for everyone.
Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ's Childhood Pal by Christopher Moore. Just what does Jesus' father want? He and his best friend Bif set out on a series of adventures through the Middle East to find out. These are Jesus' lost years -- the ones between the age of 12? and 30? Biff tells you all about it. This book is not irreverent or disrespectful, but it is very funny. I can just see a teenage Jesus struggling with his bad boy buddy Biff.
I really enjoyed Land of A Hundred Wonders by Lesley Kagen. I loved the funny main character who has brain damage from a car accident and is NQR (Not Quite Right). She is wonderfully wise and insightful and swears without realizing it. Great Southern voice.