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Old 02-17-2014, 07:12 AM   #1
FlyingFoxx
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Question Looking for something depressing...

Hello, first time posting.

I'm looking for a novel that is very deep and depressing. Ideally focusing on one protagonist. I generally don't like books with romance. I love Catcher In The Rye, Brave New World, The Sun Also Rises, and Crime and Punishment. Also, for any of you music buffs, I'm going through an Elliott Smith (self-titled) phase, so thats the kind of vibe I'm going for. Hope I don't sound like an asshole... I'm just looking for advice.

Thanks

WJS
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Old 02-17-2014, 07:35 AM   #2
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I'm not sure if it fits as there is a bit of romance involved but have you considered "Jane Eyre" as a possibility? Certainly there is an element of depressing events in that novel.
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Old 02-17-2014, 07:38 AM   #3
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The Road.
The most depressing book I ever had the misfortune to read.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_road
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Old 02-17-2014, 07:48 AM   #4
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In Cold Blood by Truman Capote. A non fiction account of the murder of a family in Kansas. Warning: graphic and depressing.

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Old 02-17-2014, 08:40 AM   #5
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Jude the Obscure by Thomas Hardy. Inward-looking protagonist, deeply depressing, gut-wrenching conclusion.

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Old 02-17-2014, 11:29 AM   #6
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If you're interested in science fiction, you might want to give Peter Watts a try - Blindsight and Starfish are both excellent books, but incredibly, incredibly bleak. The man has some truly brilliant ideas on how biotechnology (and humanity itself) might evolve in the not-too-distant future, but ye gods, it's not a journey for the faint-hearted.
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Old 02-17-2014, 11:54 AM   #7
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If you like dogs: The Story of Edgar Sawtelle https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/10132873
Supposedly a retelling of Hamlet.

The Casual Vacancy by JK Rowling I found depressing.
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Old 02-17-2014, 12:06 PM   #8
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I found On The Beach by Nevil Shute very depressing.
S
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Old 02-17-2014, 01:32 PM   #9
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Good Neighbors by Ryan David Jahn, based on the Kitty Genovese murder that became a symbol of urban apathy.
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Old 02-17-2014, 03:00 PM   #10
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Straight to You by David Moody-

Quote:
The sun is dying. The temperature around the world is rising by the hour with no sign of any respite. At this rate the planet will soon become uninhabitable; all life extinguished. It might be weeks away, it might be days... we may only have hours remaining. Society is crumbling. The burning world is descending into chaos.
Steven Johnson's wife is hundreds of miles away and all that matters is reaching her before the end. He has to act now, no time to stop and think. Every second is precious. Tomorrow is too late.
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Old 02-17-2014, 03:09 PM   #11
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Some good choices...

I'm really interested in The Road and On the Beach based on what I've heard online. Can anyone tell me more about those without spoilers? Whenever I try to research a book online I always ruin the ending for myself. Also, I've always been interested in Naked Lunch by William S. Burroughs. Anyone read that? Thoughts?
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Old 02-17-2014, 07:39 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FlyingFoxx View Post
I'm really interested in The Road and On the Beach based on what I've heard online. Can anyone tell me more about those without spoilers?
One of my favorite author authors, Anthony Trollope, had a different perspective on spoilers:

Quote:
But let the gentle-hearted reader be under no apprehension whatsoever. It is not destined that Eleanor shall marry Mr. Slope or Bertie Stanhope. And here perhaps it may be allowed to the novelist to explain his views on a very important point in the art of telling tales. . .

Our doctrine is that the author and the reader should move along together in full confidence with each other. Let the personages of the drama undergo ever so complete a comedy of errors among themselves, but let the spectator never mistake the Syracusan for the Ephesian; otherwise he is one of the dupes, and the part of a dupe is never dignified.
As for the two books mentioned, they are post-apocalyptic. Most people on earth have died, and then more die.

Another novel in that category, which I recently read, is Earth Abides by George R. Stewart. It's less pessimistic than On the Beach, but more than depressing enough.
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Old 02-17-2014, 08:21 PM   #13
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There are a couple books in this list that I have read fairly recently and really enjoyed (Earth Abides, Blindsight). I didn't think they were particularly depressing at the time, but that was because I was enjoying them a lot. Looking back, yes they were, especially Blindsight.

Another one would be 1984. Great book, but really depressing for me.
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Old 02-17-2014, 09:25 PM   #14
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Flowers for Algernon. Science Fiction, but with a soft edge.

From Wikipedia:

The eponymous Algernon is a laboratory mouse who has undergone surgery to increase his intelligence by artificial means. The story is told by a series of progress reports written by Charlie Gordon, the first human test subject for the surgery, and it touches upon many different ethical and moral themes such as the treatment of the mentally disabled.
...
In 1958, Keyes was approached by Galaxy Science Fiction magazine to write a story, at which point the different elements of Flowers for Algernon fell into place. When the story was submitted to Galaxy, however, the editor suggested changing the ending so that Charlie ... lived happily ever after. Keyes refused to make the change and sold the story to The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction instead.
...
A pivotal moment occurred in 1957 while Keyes was teaching English to students with special needs; one of them asked him if it would be possible to be put into a regular class if he worked hard and became smart.



I've read both the original short story and the novel. I think the short story is more powerful, but the novel is still extremely good. And, very depressing.
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Old 02-18-2014, 03:18 AM   #15
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Another one that is depressing at least in part is Stephen King's "The Stand" in which most of humanity dies of a strain of flu and the survivors (good and bad) are going to have to have it out.
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