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Strangely Written Books You Probably Don’t Know Exist

By Sakshi Nadkarni

Authors are always trying to experiment with their work and expand the horizons of literature as a whole. This could be done through the form or through the content, that is through assimilation and accommodation. In assimilation, authors try to incorporate novel and groundbreaking ideas or concepts into existing novel structures. In accommodation, the author tries to bend and change the basic framework of the novel to give the existing information a new form. Either way, what emerges is sensationally weird, awkward or strange. Let us look at some strangely written books you probably don’t know exist.

Gadsby by Ernest Vincent Wright

Strangely Written Books

This novel is an experimental attempt to transform the structure of a novel. It is entirely written without using the letter ‘e’. Such a work is called a lipogram, and this is an interesting one bacause ‘e’ is the most common letter in the English language. It’s said that Wright tied down the ‘e’ key on his typewriter lets a naughty ‘e’ slip in. The weirdest part is that the novel requires the description of a wedding, and Wright hasn’t used the words marriage, bride, cake or white.

Codex Saraphinianus by Luigi Serafini

Books You Probably Don’t Know Exist

This book is written in completely undecipherable language by the deemed industrial designer Luigi. It’s essentially an illustrated encyclopedia of an imaginary world, but its word content is basically gibberish. The illustrations too are largely inspired from the surrealism movement, with depictions of bleeding fruits and a couple who become an alligator. It’s weird, to say the least, and un-understandable to say the most.

Hopscotch by Julio Cortazar

Strangely Written Books

This novel is also experimental in its form and structure, and introduces to literature the concept of expendable chapters. Basically, it consists of 155 miniature chapters, the last 99 of which are ‘expendable’. That is, they serve only to fill in gaps present in the first chapters, and have no use otherwise. The first 36 chapters follow the life of an Argentinian intellectual, Horacio Oliveira, in Paris. Then, till chapter 56, the setting shifts to Argentina and a number of weird events happen. And the last 99 chapters of course, aren’t essential to the understanding of the story, but enhance its appeal.

Pale Fire by Vladimir Nabokov

Books You Probably Don’t Know Exist

This book follows a complex metafictional plot wherein there’s a whole book within a book. The book within the book is a long narrative poem by the dead poet John Shade, with a commentary and preface by Charles Kinbote. The twist is that Kinbote is an unreliable narrator, and often takes detours that reveal his obsession, stalking and craze for Shade. To add a cherry on top, he also talks about the story of the deposed king of his fictional home country of Zembla. It really doesn’t get stranger than this.

Heart of a Dog by Mikhail Bulgakov

Strangely Written Books

This is a politically charged novella which is a satire on Bolshevism in Russia. It’s also a dystopian novel with elements of science fiction. As the title suggests, this book also includes some furry friends. Basically, the various elements of this book out together form an eclectic mishmash that seems very weird and eccentric but feels cohesive due to Bulgakov’s literary genius.

Dancing Lessons for The Advanced In Age by Bohumil Hrabal

Books You Probably Don’t Know Exist

This book is literally just one big sentence of 128 pages. It recounts the story of a man who reflects on his past, especially his past love. Hrabas tells this whole love story in one big unbreaking sentence. This book also includes elements of Czech politics, memory, contrast between country and man and more. The elderly protagonist meets a group of sunbathing women and is reminded of his past love, and so the one liner flashback begins.

Alphabetical Africa by Walter Abish

Strangely Written Books

This book is not just weird, but a stroke of brilliance and genius literature. The first chapter contains only words beginning with the letter A. The second chapter only contains words beginning with A and B, the third with A, B and C and so on. After Z is reached, the author starts subtracting a letter from his chapter. To be able to express oneself at all is a big deal, and to do so using words with just one initial letter is phenomenal. In fact, this book serves as a makeshift dictionary itself!

Also Read: Books Every Sportsman Should Read

Sakshi Nadkarni

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