Monday, January 25, 2010

It's Blue Monday!

If you've already read the masters of literary misery mentioned in yesterday's Independent article and don't find them bleak enough, then here are two others that truly corner the market on existential despair:

Anna Mitgutsch's Jakob. Out of print but still readily available used, it's the story of a woman who has an autistic son back when the mother was relentlessly blamed and scorned for causing the condition.

Barbara Gowdy's The White Bone. Elephants. They suffer. They die. They don't deserve it! Even the cover on this one cuts me like a knife.


  1. I have tried some four or five times to read The White Bone, but I never make it through.

  2. January is enough all by itself; I can't read books like that at this time of year!

  3. I have to wait for the sun to come out before I can read books like these. I'm too much in the winter doldrums right now and reading depressing books will only make it worse.

  4. Nothing in fiction ever depresses me. I don't know what it says about me but I enjoy these kinds of stories for the most part. I read the entire article, I've read many of them. Can't stand apocalyptic or post-apocalyptic stories though. I adore elephants and have a copy of The White Bone waiting for me. Now I'm really curious now, and animals experiencing a bad time are a different experience. Never heard of blue Monday, thanks for the info.

  5. I absolutely love The White Bone; yes, it's painful in parts, but also so beautifully done, so many powerful bits that are not all about suffering. Her fiction about two-leggeds is also sometimes startling, I think, for the ways in which she provokes empathy even when you know you are resisting as a reader.


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