Anna Kareninja by Leo Tolstoy
A sprawling saga of forbidden love, spiritual discovery, and endless philosophical rumination, Anna Kareninja tells of a samurai-woman’s tragic exile from high society. Set in feudal Japan, a fiery romance between Anna Kareninja and Daimyo Vronsky is marred by a mutual commitment to a strict code of honor. The novel takes a tragic turn when their inability to adhere to the samurai code (due to their desire to socialize, talk, and eat in each others’ company) compels Anna to commit seppuku by leaping in front of an oncoming kitana.
The Old Man and the Sex by Ernest Hemingway
Characterized by the masculine whining and muted pathos that permeates Hemingway’s other works, The Old Man and the Sex tells the story of a macho but self-pitying impotent man, Gernest Pemingway, who unwillingly travels the dating circuit in the hopes of finding his catch. Upon excusing himself from a friendly conversation to use the restroom, Pemingway finds upon his return that the woman of his drunken desires was surrounded by a circle of younger, handsomer men. With his already fragile ego crushed, Pemingway writes a story equating this scenario to the story of an old fisherman, and it becomes an instant classic.
The Sound and the Furry by William Faulkner
This classic Southern Gothic novel tells the story of Benjamin “Benjy” Compson, an intellectually dim man nursed by also-dim matriarchs Caddy and Dilsey. His dedication and submission to Caddy triggers his curiosity for psychosexual servitude, and his foray into fetishistic deviance leads him to discover his affinity for furries. In a cruel twist of fate, Benjy, dressed in a dog costume and roaming about the Compson yard, is mistaken for the Compson family pet, taken to the veterinarian, and castrated.
Our Mutant Friend by Charles Dickens
A scathing indictment of a London society devoid of justice, equity, and subtlety, Dickens’ swan-song tells the story of a curmudgeonly aristocrat who leaves his fortune to a deformed super-orphan. To become the legal proprietor of said funds, the orphan (David Pirrip Twist) must promise to improve both his powers and physical features before marrying the aristocrat’s daughter. David squanders his benefactor’s funds to attend an overpriced academy specializing in the education of mutants, and due to London’s persecution of mutants and insurmountable odds of class ascension, David is arrested and sent to mutant-debtor’s prison.
The Unbearable Lightness of Bling by Milan Kundera
This classic novel toys with Nietzsche’s concept of “eternal return” as experienced by the glamour-philes and Hollywood elite of present-day America. Tom, an aristocratic womanizer, spends most of his time competing with his elite colleagues to maintain the highest status of sexual prowess, athletic ability, fame, and luxury. However, he finds the pursuit futile and, in the grand scheme of things, inconsequential. Upon realizing that his actions possess no universal significance, Tom resigns from Hollywood prestige, forced to reconcile with a future making ironic cameos in VH1 specials.
Appears in Whim Quarterly Issue #1. Written by Mike Yarsky.