Bookworm In Your Ear: With Comedy So Black
Here are two novels that both exhibit a dark sense of humour, helping make them enjoyable reads. One is set in modern day East Europe; while the second is historical fiction - 17th century England and the New World.
Here Comes Trouble by Simon Wroe
Wroe is the young author of Chop Chop, which I thought was one of the smartest, funniest novels about the culinary scene. With his latest, Wroe airlifts us to a fictitious East European country, that’s proud to be voted Most Corrupt for two years running, and gives us a father-son team who work on the Chronicle, perhaps the last bastion of truth and responsible journalism. In a country where almost all media is state-owned, and manufactures fake news on a regular basis to keep the blinkers on the public’s eyeballs; it’s left to the Chronicle gang to sift facts from fiction; while knowing they’re one step away from being coerced and shut down. While the dark humour keeps us in stitches and wryly smiling, it’s hard not to think that much of what Wroe has turned into satire is actually happening today!
The Judge Hunter by Christopher Buckley
For more three decades now, Buckley has been one of my favorite authors, giving us works streaked with humor, while taking on topical subjects (novels such as The White House Mess, Thank You for Smoking, Supreme Courtship, and his memoir, Losing Mum and Pup). Of late, he’s gone back centuries to create Historical/Hysterical Fiction of the first order. His latest, ‘plays’ with excerpts from Samuel Pepys' diaries, speculating on what Pepys brother-in-Law (a known vagrant and, but with airs of French nobility) would have been up to when sent to the New World to hunt for judges who had fled there when Charles II ascended to the throne—these judges having signed the orders that lead to Charles I’s execution. A world of Quakers, Puritans, and Peter Stuyvesant is mined for humor and adventure.