Henry James, Raymond Chandler, Thomas Pynchon, J. K. Rowling, Franz Kafka: As a new anthology shows, no writer is too sacred for parody. Eric Ormsby considers highlights in the history of literary ridicule.
If you're looking for an exra-bleak holiday-weekend book, try Simenon's spiky psychological thriller Red Lights (1955), which opens on the Friday evening before Labor Day, as New Yorker Steve Hogan leaves his Madison Avenue office to meet his wife. They are about to drive to Maine, but first, Steve needs a drink. Once they're on the road, he pulls over at a bar, where he loses his wife (literally), meets an ex-con, and slips into his own personal hurricane. Need we mention that Steve's Saturday morning—which finds him sleeping on a roadside—isn't pretty? Needless to say, we hope your travels go better
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