Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Top ten absurd quests in fiction

Joanna Kavenna grew up in various parts of Britain, and has also lived in the USA, France, Germany, Scandinavia and the Baltic States. Her first book The Ice Museum was about traveling in the remote North, among other things. Her second was a novel called Inglorious, which won the Orange Award for New Writing. It was followed by a novel called The Birth of Love, which was longlisted for the Orange Prize. Then came her novel Come to the Edge, a satire. Kavenna's latest novel is Zed, "a blistering, satirical novel about life under a global media and tech corporation that knows exactly what we think, what we want, and what we do--before we do."

At the Guardian, Kavenna tagged ten absurd quests in fiction, including:
The Savage Detectives by Roberto Bolaño (1998)

Two poets, Arturo Belano and Ulises Lima, are searching for another, Cesárea Tinajero. This mock-detective quest is relayed by a dizzying cast of narrators, who disagree about almost everything. The prose is stunning, and full of lovely aphorisms such as: “In some lost fold of the past, we wanted to be lions and we’re no more than castrated cats.” This concisely describes the relationship between the absurdist quest and the lion-like heroic quest…
Read about another entry on the list.

The Savage Detectives appears among Tim Lewis's top ten stoners from the arts and entertainment, Sam Munson's six best stoner novels, and Benjamin Obler's top ten fictional coffee scenes; it is one of Edmund White's five most important books.

--Marshal Zeringue