Recommend something for me to read, please?
February 26, 2011 11:23 AM   Subscribe

Book recs? I love stories about f'ed up families in the south (ala pat conroy). Darker and more screwed up the better.

Feel like crap, need to rest. Nothing I have to read interests me right now.

Loves me some dysfunctional southern families. Even better if it's dark and spans generations. Read all of pat conroy a couple times over. Next?
posted by crankyrogalsky to Writing & Language (31 answers total) 14 users marked this as a favorite
Jonathon Franzen - 1) The Corrections. 2) Freedom
posted by grak88 at 11:35 AM on February 26, 2011

Faulkner Faulkner Faulkner! He does take some getting used to; I think that Light in August is a good place to start. It's a straightforward story (for Faulkner).

Also Bastard out of Carolina--quite dark & screwed up over a few generations.

The works of Carson McCullers, to some degree. To me, more sad than dark, but YMMV.

Oooh you've got such excellent literary discoveries ahead of you!
posted by Fui Non Sum at 11:37 AM on February 26, 2011 [1 favorite]

Flannery O'Connor's novels and short stories would probably be right up your alley.
posted by nasreddin at 11:38 AM on February 26, 2011 [2 favorites]

Jonathon Franzen - 1) The Corrections. 2) Freedom

I'm pretty sure Franzen's characters are Midwesterners, not southerners.
posted by nasreddin at 11:39 AM on February 26, 2011

This is a pulpy rec, but VC Andrews is all sorts of totally effed up.
posted by anniecat at 11:44 AM on February 26, 2011 [1 favorite]

Fox's Earth by Anne Rivers Siddons, multigenerational and way trashy!
posted by Allee Katze at 11:58 AM on February 26, 2011

Harry Crews.
posted by The corpse in the library at 11:59 AM on February 26, 2011

i just read a bunch of franzen - so good instincts. not really fucked up enough.
posted by crankyrogalsky at 12:04 PM on February 26, 2011

McInerney, The Last of the Savages
posted by ewiar at 12:15 PM on February 26, 2011

Yeah, Faulkner. For maximum fuckedupedness, As I Lay Dying and The Sound and the Fury.

They have the added benefit of being fucking amazing.
posted by davidjmcgee at 12:18 PM on February 26, 2011 [2 favorites]

The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls. What's more effed up-- it's a memoir.
posted by TrarNoir at 12:20 PM on February 26, 2011

Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn
posted by something something at 12:20 PM on February 26, 2011

Everything She Ever Wanted by Ann Rule. Nonfiction, but reads like a novel. You want a dysfunctional Southern family, you've got one.
posted by SisterHavana at 12:26 PM on February 26, 2011

Non fiction OK? I loved (in a repulsed horrible way) reading about the Westboro Baptist founder and all around fuckhead Fred Phelps. Addicted to Hate.
posted by Meatbomb at 12:30 PM on February 26, 2011

nonfiction is great too.

i just read a book by a former scientologist - writing was awful, writer was/is an asshole. sooo close. but under the banner of heaven was awesome. so i should amend this - nice call.

fucked up southern families or fucked up religions/religious leaders.
posted by crankyrogalsky at 12:36 PM on February 26, 2011

You want fucked up? How about Nick Cave's And The Ass Saw The Angel?

Also the obvious: Faulkner and Flannery O'Connor.
posted by hot soup girl at 12:44 PM on February 26, 2011 [2 favorites]

You want f'ed up? This is f'ed up. IMO. (Truman Capote -- Other Voices, Other Rooms). Not exactly Pat Conroy, though...
posted by prenominal at 12:49 PM on February 26, 2011

Read the late, great Barry Hannah.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 1:08 PM on February 26, 2011

Harry Crews!!

Specifically "Feast of Snakes!"

Rednecks, dogfighting, rattlesnake hunts. You'll love it! Crews is a master storyteller. He'd be more famous if his stories weren't so disturbing.
posted by TigerCrane at 1:25 PM on February 26, 2011

You might try Eudora Welty possibly. You can read one of her stories "Why I Live at the P.O." online.
posted by gudrun at 1:53 PM on February 26, 2011 [2 favorites]

Crews' autobiography is also great. Also, strongly seconding And the Ass Saw the Angel.
posted by gimli at 2:00 PM on February 26, 2011

Try Daniel Woodrell . . .
posted by fivesavagepalms at 2:08 PM on February 26, 2011

Rick Bragg's books about his family esp. "The Prince of Frogtown".
posted by andreap at 2:23 PM on February 26, 2011

Flannery O'Connor defines southern gothic.
Toni Morrison.
I found Truman Capote's "Other Voices, Other Rooms" to be kind of fake, where Morrison and O'Connor stoke some real pathos.
posted by Jason and Laszlo at 2:39 PM on February 26, 2011

Jane Smiley - "1000 Acres"

It's the midwest, but there's enough f'ed-up-ness to make it worth your while.
posted by narcotizingdysfunction at 3:05 PM on February 26, 2011

Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter by Tom Franklin. A recent novel that a friend put me onto. I live in the south and hate a lot of this kind of stuff because it's so over the top, but this one was spot on about race relations and blue collar families in the south.
posted by randomkeystrike at 3:31 PM on February 26, 2011

Definitely Erskine Caldwell's "Tobacco Road."
posted by deep thought sunstar at 6:49 PM on February 26, 2011

Try Mudbound by Hillary Jordan.
posted by VTX at 7:53 PM on February 26, 2011

Katherine Dunn's Geek Love is about as fucked up a family dynamic as you will ever find in a book. It's about a pair of circus parents determined to breed a family of sideshow freaks, so the mother poisons herself with every pregnancy to ensure her baby will be deformed. These kids then grow up in the circus and let's just say that you'll be glad to go home to your own messed-up family over the holidays this year.

But it's a terrific read, and actually more humane and dignified than it sounds. It's definitely not a Maury Povich/Jerry Springer type of tone.
posted by thinkingwoman at 10:54 PM on February 26, 2011

John Biguenet's Oyster.
posted by dobbs at 11:33 PM on February 26, 2011

capote, morrison and geek love are decades-long favorites. so definitely on the right track. i forgot to mention that tennessee williams is a little slice of heaven.

i'm currently trying out carson mccormack and backtracking on some joyce carol oates. harry crews is on the list. cockfighting? naturally.

faulkner is not on kindle. how can that possibly be?
posted by crankyrogalsky at 12:13 PM on February 27, 2011

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