Here’s a great list of nine very funny novels. I vouch for all of them, especially My Family and Other Animals, Bridget Jones’ Diary, and A Confederacy of Dunces. May I add to the list–since it’s been on my mind lately– Andy Weir’s The Martian? There are many places in that novel I just busted out laughing.
Two other authors who’ve made a career out of seeing the humor in even the toughest situations are David Lodge, author of Small World, and Carl Hiassen, author of Skin-Tight and other acerbically-funny novels about the sex, drugs, and rock ‘n roll scene in Miami.
As with all great funny books, there’s more on these authors’ minds than just giving the audience a good laugh. Each of these writers is a sharp observer of human nature. We can learn a lot about our fellow men and women and ourselves–our follies and the things we really care about–by reading their works. The fact that we can also herniate ourselves laughing while we do it is just a bonus.
[Postscript: I wrote this post before learning of this morning’s fatal shooting of a TV reporter and her cameraman while doing an interview in a shopping mall near Roanoke, VA. Suddenly, I do not feel nearly so light of heart. Life does go on, always, but this senseless, stupid, barbaric act casts a pall over even the gentlest invitation to laugh. Had I known about the incident beforehand, I would not have posted this morning’s entry. I have no idea why anyone would shoot a reporter and her cameraman during a run-of-the-mill interview. It just doesn’t make any sense. My apologies to anyone whose sensitivities I may have jarred.]