The Blind Owl, by Sadegh Hedayat

Certain stories really stick in my head and haunt/influence me for years. This could be one of them. The story of how this book was translated, told in the preface to the book, was an interesting read in itself. Apparently the story was banned in Iran for many years, and there were several censored and …

Strange Hotel, by Eimear McBride

I don't know if I have ever identified so strongly with a character with who I share so little lived experiences. This was a powerful, sad, startling, sometimes funny, most times existentially upsetting, and overall extremely readable book. The story follows a woman through several brief moments during different periods in her life, each moment …

The Sundial, by Shirley Jackson

As with all the Jackson books I've read so far, this one features some people confined in a house, strange visions, and fear of the outside world. Aunt Fanny, of the Halloran family, has had a vision that the world will soon end. That is, it will end for anyone who is not safely inside …

Nausea by Jean-Paul Sartre

If you don't want to be uncomfortably aware of your own existence--the heat of your breath, the presence of your tongue against your teeth, the weight of your hand resting on your thigh, the stickiness of your eyes, all of this, constant and inescapable--then possibly, avoid this book. The story takes the form of a …

Frost, by Thomas Bernhard

The opening paragraph of this novel is one of the best I've read, and is so humorous and sets the tone so well that I had to read the book. The narrator, a young medical intern, is given an unusual assignment to stay with, and observe his superior's brother, a reclusive painter named Strauch, and …