The Rough Guide to Cult Fiction (Rough Guides Reference Titles) Paperback – 28 Apr 2005
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About the Author
Written by the team behind the highly successful Rough Guide to Cult Movies.
Top customer reviews
So many books are covered here - and I think that everyone should find at least a handful that they have not read.
And this is the main roll of this book - as a pointer to other works that might be of interest.
Also each book/author is linked to influences and what they have influenced - allowing readers to follow streams of cult fiction as they develop and evolve.
Also included are tips on writing a cult novel if anyone should wish to try (although surely trying to write something to be cult might stop it from being one).
I would recommend this book to anyone who has ever enjoyed the buzz of Naked Lunch, Gravity's Rainbow or Nausea.
Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
1. Though the book purports to be a "cult" guide, it does include in its contents many authors who are not obscure, one-hit wonders (though it does have a section dedicated to these) including but not limited to: Borges, Camus, Hemingway, Chandler, Doyle, and O'Connor among others. This results in a well-rounded primer to popular literature, not just an obscure reference guide for lit-hipsters.
2. The style and tone. This book is written in a factual, informed, eloquent, and referential tone. It is humorous without being campy, straightforward without being overly concise, and literary without being elitist. Though it is written by Brits, if anything, it possesses a bias towards the non-Anglophile writer, greatly valuing, and even cherishing, the contributions of those who are not the creators, but rather the inheritors, of the mother tongue.
3. The breadth of offerings. This is a tiny book, measuring roughly 6 x 5 inches with 360 some odd pages, and yet because the font is small, it manages to pack a ton of information between its pages. I have owned it for 4 years and am still discovering new things inside it.
4. Last but not least, there are several 'sidebars' in the book where the authors provide historical information, quotes, and author profiles. In addition, there are in the back section of the book, several smaller sections which are fascinating, and that detail cult book characters, author marginalia--with all that that entails--mostly factual novels, and so on.
That this book is out of print is a travesty. Of all the literature guides I've ever been referred to, best 100 books, 50 must-reads, etc. this book blows them all away, and does so with style and grace.
Coming out of the service and seeking to read all the cool books the cool kids talked about I dove into this enjoyably written guide and didn't come up for air for some time.
I enjoyed the guide's focus on the lives of the various writers. The writing dedicated to their works is usually shallow and one dimensional, but you do get recommended reads. If there is a gimmick that will be discussed but otherwise the author's works are tied back to their lives.
I think that approach works here, because many of these writers developed their respective cult followers based on tales of wild, dangerous, sometimes murderous real life adventures. The background on the respective authors' lives makes you want to run out to the library and try something you wouldn't have been exposed to, otherwise. I treasure my copy, and I'm slowly making my way through the list.
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