"I can't find Pussy anywhere."
February 12, 2009 12:36 PM   Subscribe

I really loved the Sopranos. Are there any novels out there that I should read?

I really liked Sopronas because of its:

- docu-realistic portrayal of Americana and contemporary middle-class consumer culture

- investigation of morals and ethics (in this ultra-realistic contemporary setting)

- satire of contemporary bourgeoisie values and aspirations

- investigation of persona, and the psychological cost of maintaining different persona

- investigation of the effect patriarchal culture has on men, women, and - children (investigations for each)

- (important) sense of humour

I'm not interested in books or novels primarily about crime or the mafia, unless it helps the plot.

Any ideas for great books I should be reading?
posted by KokuRyu to Media & Arts (15 answers total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
 
He can't help you find Pussy, but try the undeservedly obscure Stephen Amidon. Here is a link to a piece mostly about his book The New City. You can also google up a Bookslut article about another, Human Capital, and lots of other stuff. There is a StephenAmidon.com, but it doesn't have much to offer (probably done by publisher's marketing dept.). Enjoy!
posted by scratch at 12:48 PM on February 12, 2009


anything by don delillo. 'white noise' is a great starting point. not too long, so if it's not your bag you haven't wasted too much time.
posted by barrett caulk at 1:01 PM on February 12, 2009


Beat me to it, Barrett. I just read White Noise, and while I found it a bit dated, it definitely fits these criteria to a T.
posted by goingonit at 1:05 PM on February 12, 2009


Not a novel, but the bits about a patriarchal society and identity are certainly to be found in Mad Men, which is Matthew Weiner's show on AMC. Weiner was a long-time Sopranos writer/producer.
posted by xmutex at 1:06 PM on February 12, 2009


Richard Ford - The Sportswriter and Independence Day I enjoyed.
posted by vito90 at 1:08 PM on February 12, 2009 [1 favorite]


The Brothers K by David James Duncan is awesome. Baseball serves as the mafia equivalent, pushing the story forward...
posted by vito90 at 1:12 PM on February 12, 2009


I also like some Ken Loach movies, as well, although his movies aren't particularly funny, which is why I don't watch him more.
posted by KokuRyu at 1:19 PM on February 12, 2009


Humor is always the hard part here. It's easy to find novels about contemporary America, but The Sopranos will almost always have better jokes.
posted by Kirklander at 1:47 PM on February 12, 2009


Anthony Trollope is your man. He wrote, of course, about Victorian English culture, but the moral and ethical problems are identical to those of today, and he specialized in satire of bourgeoisie (and upper class) values and aspirations.

Begin with The Warden, which is an introductory stage-setter for his masterpiece, Barchester Towers. Once you get in, they're compulsive page-turners.
posted by KRS at 3:26 PM on February 12, 2009 [1 favorite]


Positively Fifth Street: Murderers, Cheetahs, and Binion's World Series of Poker tells you about the history of the World Series of Poker (the guy and hotel where it started), some of the major players, the history of Las Vegas, and crime thereabouts. Seediness personified.

Also fun is No Speed Limit, which explains how meth has gone from being a home grown-labcooked Hell's Angel pharmaceutical to a superlab product coming mostly from Mexico. Chock full of interesting historical/ecological/sociological details.

Finally, McMafia is the one to rule them all. This guy went everywhere (Brazil, Soviet Republics, East bloc countries, India, Colombia, Japan) and fleshes out just how interrelated crime has become in this new global economy. A fascinating read. My only complaint is that he doesn't touch at all on Mexico, but you can get a lot of info on that situation just reading the papers these days.

Good reading.
posted by subajestad at 3:28 PM on February 12, 2009


Not a novel but almost, Wiseguy, Nicholas Pileggi's book upon which the classic movie "Goodfellas" was based.
posted by Morrigan at 5:51 PM on February 12, 2009


Your initial question didn't pop him in my head, but all of your follow-up questions can be answered with Don DeLillo.
posted by zardoz at 8:16 PM on February 12, 2009


Actually, I've read every Don DeLillo book out there...

The Corrections comes close, I suppose, but it's not dark enough.
posted by KokuRyu at 9:24 PM on February 12, 2009


Try some Richard Price.
posted by [@I][:+:][@I] at 12:58 PM on February 13, 2009


shoulda known you'd have been all over delillo. seconding krs's 'barchester towers,' however. trollope is timeless and thoroughly dope.
posted by barrett caulk at 11:13 AM on February 16, 2009


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