Kindle Kult: The Darkest of Dark Novels

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This week, we’ve found some truly excellent Kindle deals on several novels frequently credited as “the darkest of all time” in lists across the Internet. While these are considered “literary” novels rather than “horror” or “weird fiction,” we can assure you the distinction is useless in this context–prepare yourself for some of the bleakest, most harrowing moments we’ve ever read. Fans of dark genre fiction will certainly find something to admire in these timeless classics. And don’t be fooled by the word “classics”–these books are not for the easily unsettled reader. 

Jerzy Kosinski’s The Painted Bird is just about as dark as it gets. This infamous novel transforms an Eastern European, post-WWII countryside into a sheer nightmare, complete with unspeakable violence, loneliness, and a scene where someone is eaten alive by rats. For $1.99, you really can’t miss this one.

Few depictions of alcoholism and existential suffering are more brutal than Malcolm Lowry’s highly celebrated Under the Volcano.  $1.99 is an absolute steal for this gargantuan beast, and it’s certainly not going to last. Beware: this novel will suffocate you in misery–try not to go into it if you’re not in a place to handle sincerely depressing subject matter.

Readers may not typically associate Graham Greene with brutally dark fiction, but it’s only because none of his books carry the same tone or thematic concerns. The Power and the Glory, a story of a dishonored priest fleeing for his life during the Catholic purge in Mexico at the beginning of the 20th century, is just about as darkly beautiful as fiction can get. A mere $1.99 is a small price to pay for the timeless experience of this novel. Fans of more politically-inclined weird fiction writers, such as T. E. Grau, Nadia Bulkin, and S. L. Edwards, will find much to appreciate here.

Hubert Selby Jr., the author of Last Exit to Brooklyn, The Room, and Requiem for a Dream, is an uncontested master of the dark, depressing, and utterly bleak literary novel. While The Willow Tree doesn’t quite reach the heights of the above-mentioned works, for $2.99, it’s well worth a spin.

Fernando Pessoa’s Book of Disquiet is far more introspective and philosophical than the novels included in this list so far. Nevertheless, it may be the most profoundly depressing and lonely book here as well. This one, if you ask me, is an absolute must-have. For an astounding $2.99, this beautiful new translation and complete edition is a worthy purchase for any thinking reader ready to delve into a profound and dreamy celebration of failure.

Aldous Huxley’s The Devils of Loundun is different kind of beast–it’s a true account of a witch craze in a convent that brings to mind the earlier roots of gothic fiction. It’s not exactly literary, but it’s dark, horrifying, and it inspired Ken Russell’s infamous film of the same name. It’s also a mere $1.99. Snag it while you can!

*All Kindle deals have nothing whatsoever to do with Silent Motorist Media. We are merely pointing them out to you, and we encourage you to verify the price before purchasing. None of these prices are guaranteed to last!

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