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Suggestions for a melancholic

Irene Wilde

New Member
Books I've embraced in my misery have included "Wuthering Heights," "The Crying of Lot 49," "Tropic of Capricorn," and Anais Nin's "Fire" Diary. For a challenging way to spend your melancholic hours, I would suggest "Gravity's Rainbow." Of course, if you are miserable and under 18, better stick to "Wuthering Heights." And you will have something to look forward to -- turning 18, so you can read the above-mentioned books. In fact, if you are under 18, there's still lots to look forward to -- not all of it good, but not all bad either.

Irene Wilde


New Member
I've been really into Haruki Murakami recently. I've gone through three of his books in one week; he's a genius! No more recommendations? :(


New Member
Why not Read something on the lighter side perhaps even funny ? sure it would be better for you in the long run :)


New Member
Well, I would tend to agree with that. I guess everybody has their own path to follow in life though so maybe that's his way :)


New Member
Welcome, downthrough.
You might enjoy something like John Fante's Ask the Dust or Fred Exley's A Fan's Notes or even something by Bukowski . . . maybe Post Office or Ham on Rye. I also found Selby's Last Exit to Brooklyn torrentially depressing, and Joseph Heller's Something Happened. You might also want to check out John Barth's The Floating Opera. There's another related book by Barth, but the title escapes me.
I've also been very impressed by Haruki Murakami.
I wonder, what did you think of Percy's The Moviegoer? If you liked that, look for a copy of Wright Morris' The Field of Vision.


New Member
Try Ivan Turgenev's "Diary of a superfluous man". One of the most depressing books ever written. Its the story of a young man laying alone waiting to die. To pass the time he decides to write a diary about his life. But as he lies there thinking about his life, he realises that his life never mattered to anyone else so he has nothing to write about. Except this one episode. A lovestory. But as the story progresses he sees things in a different light. Was it really a lovestory?


New Member
"Pleasure and pain, which are two sentiments so different in themselves, differ not so much in thier cause...The heart likes naturally to be moved and affected. Melancholy objects suit it, and even disatrous and sorrowful, provided they are softened by some circumstance. It is certain that, on the theatre, the representation has almost the effect of reality; yet it has not altogether that effect. However we may be hurried away by the spectacle; whatever dominion the senses and imagination may usurp over the reason, there still lurks at the bottom a certain idea of falsehood in the whole of what we see. This idea though weak and disguised, suffices to diminsh the pain which we suffer from the misfortunes those whom we love, and to reduce that affliction to such a pitch as converts it into a pleasure. We weep the misfortune of a hero to whom we are attached. In the same instant we comfort ourselves by reflecting it is nothing but a fiction; and it is precisely that mixture of sentiments which composes an agreeable sorrow, and tears that delight us."



New Member
The Diving-bell and the Butterfly
~Jean-Dominique Bauby​

The diary of Jean-Dominique Baudy, written after the author suffered a massive stroke leaving his left eyelid as the only mobile muscle in his body. Three days after the book's publication, Baudy died. :(

I have heard its very good, its on my wish list :)


New Member
Hey all, anyone who has not read No Longer Human by Osamu Dazai, go get it. It's the most depressing and relating book I've ever read. Check it out, very nice.


New Member
I thought The Death of Ivan Ilyich by Leo Tolstoy was pretty depressing. It makes you examine your life and consider whether you lived life authentically.


New Member
downthrough said:
I've learned to embrace it and seek out art that reflects how I feel.

Hi, downthrough. I also suffer from depression and I agree with you about accepting those feelings because ignoring them just makes them worse. Reading a depressing book can be very cathardic. Tess of the D'Urbervilles is very sad, if you like the classics.


New Member
Actually, pretty much any Hardy book meets the brief. You're almost waiting for that trademark Hardy moment where every single thing in the protaganist's life falls apart, and then they probably die. Try Jude the Obscure. (Not to give the impression I don't like him - I love Hardy completely, but he is somewhat predictable, in that there will probably not be a completely happy ending.)
Personally, if I were depressed, I wouldn't be seeking it out, but I've never been there so it's not my right to comment really.
Oh, another good one would be the Gormenghast trilogy, by Mervyn Peake. Or rather the first two books -the third is a little bizarre. It's twisted, melancholic, full of tragedy, and utterly disturbing - yet completely brilliant. The characters are generally quite unsympathetic, morally ambiguous, and physically disgusting, and you almost feel they deserve their unhappy lot. Heavily borrowed from since publication, yet like nothing that had gone before.


New Member
try this:


this is one of the best damn books ever written, and as depressing as they come

from day of the locust
""Their boredom becomes more and more terrible. They realize they’ve been tricked and burn with resentment. Every day of their lives they read the newspapers and watched the movies. Both fed them on lynchings, murder, sex crimes, explosions, wrecks, love nests, fires, miracles, revolutions, wars. This daily diet made sophisticates of them." "

from miss lonelyhearts (in my opinion the better of the two)

"At college, and perhaps for a year afterwards, they had believed in literature, had believed in Beauty and in personal expression as an absolute end. When they lost this belief, they lost everything. Money and fame meant nothing to them. They were not worldly men." (from Miss Lonelyhearts, 1933)

from a review:
"MISS LONELYHEARTS (1933), an allegory of America as it struggled through the Depression. The tragic farce was published when West was just thirty. It depicts a male newspaper columnist, whose correspondence pen name is Miss Lonelyhearts. He writes his agony column in the New York Post-Dispatch daily newspaper. Shrike, the editor, is a kind of Satan and torments Miss Lonelyhearts, who has developed a Christ complex. Shrike says to him: "Explain that man cannot live by bread alone and give them stones." Miss Lonelyhearts is a therapist, priest and messiah to those alienated and in pain, such as a sixteen-year-old girl who was born without a nose: "I sit and look at myself all day and cry. I have a big hole in the middle of my face that scares people even myself so I can't blame the boys for not wanting to take me out. My mother loves me, but she cries terrible when she looks at me.""

wikipedia entry:

Nathanael West (October 17, 1903 - December 22, 1940) was the pen name of Nathan Wallenstein Weinstein.

Born in New York City, New York, West flunked Tufts University in 1921 and received an advanced degree from Brown in 1924. He spent the winter of 1925/26 in Paris writing The Dream Life of Balso Snell, his first novel, which was published in 1931. When he returned to the United States, he legally changed his name. He managed cheap New York hotels for his father until 1933, when he published what would become his best-known novel, Miss Lonelyhearts. In 1935 he went to Hollywood to become a screenwriter. His last novel was The Day of the Locust, published in 1939, the year before his death in an automobile accident, reportedly on the way to F. Scott Fitzgerald's funeral. He is buried in Mount Zion Cemetery in Queens, New York.

West was an innovative writer with a considerable influence on subsequent generations. His novels revealed the grotesqueness and sterility of the American Dream, especially its materialistic side. He was ostensibly surrealist in his outlook, as well. He never rose to any heights of fame while alive, but his popularity rose after his premature death."

i also highly highly reccomend "under the volcano" which i have gone into enough in other posts


New Member
Hey downthrough!
Try "4:48 Psychosis" by Sarah Kane. It was written shortly before she comitted suicide after struggling with manic depression for many years. Reading that play was like being witness to it happening, which wasn't a pleasant feeling at all.


New Member
I always like to listen to Flying Saucer Attack when I'm somewhat down.
(It's a low-fi alternative to MBV, I think.)
And read some Reinaldo Arenas. "Singing From The Well" and "Farewell To The Sea" are both enlightening reads.