Underground Men

By Mike Smoody

Here is a list of books that provide a window into the hidden conscious experience of strange, unsavory, twisted, bitter, depraved and underground men.

  • Portnoy's Complaint

    1969 by Philip Roth

    This book was hilarious and I loved every line. In a way it is a mockery of the guilt ridden confessional tradition of Augustine and Rousseau. Also, it takes the reader inside a hyperbolic version of the mind of modern man.

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  • A Scanner Darkly

    1977 by Philip K Dick

    Undercover and underground. A narcotics officer infiltrates a group of junkies only to find his own use of the drug, Substance D, going out of control, his grasp on reality slipping away and his attitude towards the system becoming much like those of whom he's trying to prosecute. I felt totally sympathetic for this anonymous, naive and tragic hero unjustly persecuted by the system he tries to uphold.

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  • Brief Interviews with Hideous Men

    1999 by David Foster Wallace

    I'm assuming the 'hideous' in the title refers to moral hideousness. I haven't read the book, but I've always wanted to read David Foster Wallace. Something to look forward to!

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  • Pale Fire

    1992 by Vladimir Vladimirovich Nabokov

    Nabokov had a knack for creating sympathetic sociopaths for characters. Charles Kinbote manages to seduce readers into his world, charm us with nostalgic visions of his illustrious past and leave us wondering "is this guy for real?" Also, there's a wonderful poem plopped down in the middle of the novel.

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  • American Psycho : a novel

    1991 by Bret Easton Ellis

    This is an allegory of American excess whose perverse and gory expressiveness can only be matched by the Marquis de Sade. I kept reading just to find out if this psycho would ever be caught, if this was really happening and, of course, to see how far he would go.

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  • Notes from Underground

    2004 by Fyodor Dostoyevsky

    Dostoevsky's is the original underground man. No underground man since can match this one for profundity and wit, then again no novelist since has been as good.

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