Wednesday, July 14, 2010

A humor writer's favorite 20th century funny novels

Polly Frost is the author of the humor book With One Eye Open. Her humor has been published in The New Yorker, the New York Times, Grin & Tonic, The Atlantic and Narrative.

For Flashlight Worthy, she named her favorite 20th century funny novels. One title on the list:
The Hunter: A Parker Novel
by Richard Stark

The recently-deceased popular-fiction genius Donald Westlake was loved for his comic crime novels, but I've always preferred his hard-boiled Parker novels, which I find just as funny. (The Hunter was made into the 1967 film, Point Blank, and was remade recently as Payback with Mel Gibson.)

The Hunter is existential, blunt, wildly-plotted, deadpan, and brutally hilarious. And I'll never forget Westlake at one Edgar Awards evening when he was presented with a Lifetime Achievement Award. He responded with a perfect satire of the typical writer's acceptance speech. ("Whither the short story?") I'm still giggling at the memory of his audacity.
Read about another book on Frost's list.

--Marshal Zeringue