This is one very hard question to answer. It is even nearly impossible to determine who was the maddest writer, let alone what is the craziest book ever written. But we will try to give you a list of book titles that could seize the title of ultimate madness. The titles will not be presented in any chronological order nor they are going to be limited by genre or number of pages.
Against Nature – Joris-Karl Huysmans
What makes this book really crazy is a level of bizarre. The protagonist encrusts his tortoise’s shell with jewels. Eventually, the death of the poor creature is what comes as the ensuing consequence. It is also the summary of the plot. To go more into detail, the word is about a French aristocrat who is disillusioned with being a French aristocrat. He goes home and tinkers around his eccentric country house. It is all described in excruciating detail. There are no other characters. There is no dialogue. And there is no further plot.
Get your own copy: Against Nature: A Rebours.
Stories From The Brothel – Mr. W.
Stories From The Brothel follows the life of a young suicidal painter obsessed with women’s feet and addicted to brothels. The painter wants to get rich so he can go to prostitutes and fill his sexual fantasies. But first, he must lose his virginity in a brothel and gather the courage to tell a girl he would like to kiss her feet. There is a lot of talk about suicide as both protagonist’s father and grandfather committed suicide by hanging themselves. There are also many explicit scenes from brothels and deep elaboration of a foot fetish.
Get your own copy: Stories From The Brothel.
Finnegans Wake – James Joyce
Finnegans Wake, also known as the final work of James Joyce, could easily be the weirdest novel ever written. The writer spent seventeen years of his life writing the Finnegans Wake due to a big amount of research involved. Almost every word and sentence in the book allows a reader to read it in a dozen ways. This is possible because of many intentional misspellings and invented portmanteaus that hint at other words in sixty different languages.
Example: “What then agentlike brought about that tragoady thundersday this municipal sin business? Our cubehouse still rocks as earwitness to the thunder of his arafatas…”
But this is not just the story of Finnegan’s death and the consequences. It is also the story that represents the history of the world and a history of thought. There are no books like this to be found.
Get your own copy: Finnegans Wake.
Black Friday Halloween Special – The Saga Of The Chosen Historian
This parody by Nikola Misovic is possibly the crazies book ever. Seymour is a 40-year-old virgin and history teacher who lives with his mother. One day he decides to press charges against God. Seymour claims he has a crucial piece of evidence in his pocket. But due to the low salary, he must wait for Black Friday to hire a lawyer. However, he finds a lawyer on the night of Halloween. On that same night, Eve descends from heaven to sue God as well. She wants to sue her father for child molestation. Other imaginary and celestial beings are tired of injustice and follow Seymour in his quest to prosecute God.
Why is it called Balck Friday Halloween Special?
Because people who can’t wait for Black Friday to arrive demand that the state masks Halloween into Thanksgiving so they can go shopping after midnight. If you like madness this God-consumerism parody is an absolute must.
Get your own copy: Black Friday Halloween Special.
Dancing Lessons for the Advanced in Age – Bohumil Hrabal
Believe it or not, this book that sprawls over 160 pages is written only in one sentence. An old man stumbles upon a group of women and starts to speak about his life adventures. It turns out that this shoemaker had both war and love conquests during his prime. But, the most fascinating fact about this book is that, as we already said, is written in one run-on sentence.
Get your own copy: Dancing Lessons for the Advanced in Age.
Kafka on the Shore – Haruki Murakami
This is the story of a brave 15-year-old boy who runs away from home to find his sister. The book also speaks of his relationship with his father Nakata. Nakata is still recovering from war-time wounds and dark memories. The story unfolds in a bizarre world. Flutes are made from cat’s souls, spirits can leave and possess bodies to have sex or kill, fishes fall from the sky and hyperlinks exist to wartime paranormal activities. Patricide is also present. The protagonist has a plan to kill his father in order to reach his long-gone mother/sister. It is considered to be one of Murakami’s most creative novels.
Get your own copy: Kafka on the Shore.
Perfume: The Story of a Murderer – Patrick Suskind
The mere statement that the book is about perfume-making and killing is mad enough without any additional elaboration. The story is placed in 18th-century France. A certain boy has one very special gift – an incredibly developed sense of smell. This leads him to become obsessed with creating the most sensual smell. At first brass doorknobs and fresh wood is what keeps him pleased. But then he discovers the greatest smell of all – the smell of a young virgin. His obsession to capture this smell, by all means necessary, results in murder, suspense, and an inexplicable urge for sexual abstinence.
Get your own copy: Perfume: The Story of a Murderer.
The Life and Opinions of the Tomcat Murr – E.T.A. Hoffman
Tomcat Murr is a cat. That cat learned to both read and write all by itself. At some point in time, the cat decides to write his autobiography. He uses the composer Johannes Kreisler’s biography for a blotting-pad. Due to a printer’s error, these two biographies are woven together. Everything a reader encounters inside the book is the result of this error. The two biographies parallel one another in unexpected ways.
Get your copy: Tomcat Murr.
Life: A User’s Manual – Perec
This novel consists of one-hundred-seventy-nine stories. The central story of Bartlebooth follows a man who decided to devote his life to the meaningless task of solving a jigsaw puzzle. In the beginning, Bartelbooth has just died and the writer freezes activity in Bartelbooth’s apartment block.
Perec dedicates one chapter to each room in that block. The same applies to the stairwell. Rooms are described to the slightest detail and due to the occupants of the room, a chapter is added to the story of the man who dedicated his life to the solving of a jigsaw puzzle.
Get your copy: Life: A User’s Manual.
If on a Winter’s Night a Traveler – Italo Calvino
If on a Winter’s Night a Traveler, by Italo Calvino, is the story of the reader who is trying to read a book called If on a Winter’s Night a Traveler by Italo Calvino. But the reader encounterest obstacles on his way. He is continuously frustrated by printing errors as he is given the wrong book. There is also a question of vast literary conspiracy amongst other things.
The real reader is allowed to read the chapters from the books the Reader reads but never gets to finish. Every one of these chapters encompasses a pastiche of one of several genres and styles.
Get your copy: If on a Winter’s Night a Traveler.