Kurt Vonnegut in Breakfast of ChampionsRead about another entry on the list.
Kurt Vonnegut is an author who learned all the usual techniques for writing a novel then threw them out the window, creating some of the most interesting and challenging books of the modern age. In Breakfast of Champions, Vonnegut plays with the concept of free will in a story involving an author handing one of his books to a deranged man, who accepts the novel’s declaration that only he, the reader, is a real person as truth, sparking a violent rampage. The author of that novel is Vonnegut’s famous avatar Kilgore Trout—but then, just when you’re starting to get comfortable with what you think Vonnegut is saying, Vonnegut himself, as the narrator of the book thus far, steps into the story to tell Trout he is, in fact, a real person. Is Vonnegut messing with us? Making a profound statement about agency and reality? As with most Vonnegut works, you can’t know. You can only make your best case one way or the other. And so on.