“Boisterous, ribald, and ultimately shattering, this is the unforgettable story of a mental ward and its inhabitants, especially the tyrannical Big Nurse Ratched and Randle Patrick McMurphy, the brawling, fun-loving new inmate who resolves to oppose her. We see the struggle through the eyes of Chief Bromden, the seemingly mute half-Indian patient who witnesses and understands McMurphy's heroic attempt to do battle with the awesome power of the Combine. Hailed upon its publication as “a glittering parable of good and evil" (The New York Times Book Review) and "a roar of protest against middlebrow society's Rules and the invisible Rulers who enforce them" (Time), this powerful book is as bracing and insightful today as it was in the 1960s.”
2. A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess
“‘Anthony Burgess reads chapters of his novel A Clockwork Orange with hair-raising drive and energy. Although it is a fantasy set in an Orwellian future, this is anything but a bedtime story.’ -The New York Times Told by the central character, teenager Alex, this brilliant, hilarious, and disturbing novel creates an alarming futuristic vision of violence, high technology, and authoritarianism. Anthony Burgess' 1963 classic stands alongside Orwell's 1984 and Huxley's Brave New World as a classic of twentieth century post-industrial alienation, often shocking us into a thoughtful exploration of the meaning of free will and the conflict between good and evil. In this recording, the author's voice lends an intoxicating lyrical dimension to the language he has so masterfully crafted.”
This book has many of the gothic elements we have discussed, but it is really heavy duty. One of my favs, but it is intense. Amazon blurb: After leaving the college she'd attended to escape her religiously conservative parents, Iliana, a first-generation Dominican-American woman, returns home to Brooklyn to find that her family is falling apart: one sister is careening toward mental collapse, another sister is living in a decrepit building with her abusive husband and three children, and a third sister has simply disappeared. In this dislocating urban environment Iliana reluctantly confronts the anger and desperation that seem to seep through every crack of her family's small house, and experiences all the contradictions, superstitions, joys, and pains that come from a life caught between two cultures. In this magnificent debut novel, filled with graceful prose and searing detail, Loida Maritza Pérez offers a penetrating portrait of the American immigrant experience as she explores the true meanings of identity, family--and home.
4. The Brief Wonderous Life of Oscar Wao. Junot Diaz
Things have never been easy for Oscar, a sweet but disastrously overweight, lovesick Dominican ghetto nerd. From his home in New Jersey, where he lives with his old-world mother and rebellious sister, Oscar dreams of becoming the Dominican J. R. R. Tolkien and, most of all, of finding love. But he may never get what he wants, thanks to the Fukœ-the curse that has haunted the Oscar's family for generations, dooming them to prison, torture, tragic accidents, and, above all, ill-starred love. Oscar, still waiting for his first kiss, is just its most recent victim.
Diaz immerses us in the tumultuous life of Oscar and the history of the family at large, rendering with genuine warmth and dazzling energy, humor, and insight the Dominican-American experience, and, ultimately, the endless human capacity to persevere in the face of heartbreak and loss. A true literary triumph, The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao confirms Junot Diaz as one of the best and most exciting voices of our time.
5. The Sirens of Titan by Kurt Vonnegut
“The Sirens of Titan is an outrageous romp through space, time, and morality. The richest, most depraived man on Earth, Malachi Constant, is offered a chance to take a space journey to distant worlds with a beautiful woman at his side. Of course, there's a catch to the invitation...and a prophetic vision about the purpose of human life that only Vonnegut has the courage to tell.”