Book picks similar to
Killing the Second Dog by Marek Hłasko


White Raven

Andrzej Stasiuk - 1995
    Their plans go wrong when they get lost, argue, and finally, accidentally, kill a border guard. Flight is now their only option...extreme flight through a totally inhospitable snowscape. External landscapes and internal mindscapes blend as each man confronts his own life and most secret fears. White Raven explores the universal themes of lost youth and friendship, against the backdrop of a rapidly changing society.

The Issa Valley

Czesław Miłosz - 1955
    There are the deep pine and spruce forests, the grouse and the deer, and the hunter's gun. There is Magdalena, the beautiful mistress of the village priest, whose suicide unleashes her ghost to haunt the parish. There are also the loving grandparents with whom Thomas lives, who provide a balance of the not-quite-Dostoevskian devils that visit the villagers. In the end, Thomas is severed from his childhood and the Issa River, and leaves prepared for adventures beyond his valley. Poetic and richly imagined, The Issa Valley is a masterful work of fiction from one of our greatest living poets.

Slapstick/Mother Night

Kurt Vonnegut Jr. - 1976


Witold Gombrowicz - 1960
    While recuperating from wartime Warsaw in the Polish countryside, the unnamed narrator and his friend, Fryderyk, attempt to force amour between two local youths, Karol and Henia, as a kind of a lewd entertainment. They become increasingly frustrated as they discover that the two have no interest in one another, and the games are momentarily stopped by a local murder and a directive to assassinate a rogue member of the Polish resistance. Gombrowicz connects these threads magnificently in a tense climax that imbues his novel with a deep sense of the absurd and multiplies its complexity. Gombrowicz is a relentless psychoanalyzer and a consummate stylist; his prose is precise and forceful, and the narrator's strained attempts to elucidate why he takes such pleasure at soiling youth creepily evoke authentic pride and disgust. Borchardt's translation (the first into English from the original Polish) is a model of consistency, maintaining a manic tone as it navigates between lengthy, comma-spliced sentences and sharp, declarative thrusts. - Publishers Weekly

The New Valley: Novellas

Josh Weil - 2009
    Told in three varied and distinct voices—from a soft-spoken beef farmer struggling to hold himself together after his dad’s suicide; to a health-obsessed single father desperate to control his reckless, overweight daughter; to a mildly retarded man who falls for a married woman intent on using him in a scheme that wounds them both—each novella is a vivid examination of Weil’s uniquely romanticized relationships. As the men struggle against grief, solitude, and fixation, their desperation leads them all to commit acts that bring both ruin and salvation.Reminiscent of Bobbie Ann Mason, Annie Proulx, and Kent Haruf in its deeply American tone, The New Valley is a tender exploration of resilience, isolation, and the consuming ache for human connection. Weil’s empathetic, meticulous prose makes this is a debut of inescapable power.

Sweet William

Beryl Bainbridge - 1975
    Then she meets William: snub-nosed and generous, cunning and protean. She is first seduced then transfixed as William's past, present and future swirl around her kaleidoscopically, overwhelmingly, and Ann herself is irrevocably changed.

The Tale of the 1002nd Night

Joseph Roth - 1939
    This brilliant, allegorical tale of seduction and personal and societal ruin, set amidst exquisite, wistful descriptions of a waning aristocratic age, provides an essential link to our understanding of Roth's extraordinary fictive powers.

The Elephant

Sławomir Mrożek - 1957
    Satirical stories deal with superstition, bureaucracy, propaganda, appearance and reality, courtship, marriage, class structure, and education

Without Dogma

Henryk Sienkiewicz - 1891
    He wrote a psychological novel, in which the romantic plot was a pretext for showing the hero's mental states and self-analysis of his experiences. Due to its subject and the lack of explicit condemnation of the main character, this book aroused heated discussions and sparked allegations of a-morality. For many young people Without the dogma was the diagnosis of their generation.

The Godfather

Chris Rice - 1998
    His business is built on fear and murder. Vito's son Michael wants a quiet life away from the family business. But that's not easy, and slowly Michael becomes the most dangerous gangster of them all

The Chain of Chance

Stanisław Lem - 1976
    An ex-astronaut is hired to look into the death of several wealthy businessmen. The authorities suspect a pattern, but neither the police nor a supercomputer enlisted for the investigation can crack the case. On a trail leading across Europe, the ex-astronaut barely escapes numerous attempts on his life. Having set himself up as a potential victim, he realizes that he may now be the target of a conspiracy--and that the conspiracy is not the work of a criminal mind, but a manifestation of the laws of nature. Certain patterns have begun to emerge from the chaos of modern society. Some of those patterns can be fatal. . .

The Bookshop, The Gate of Angels, The Blue Flower

Penelope Fitzgerald - 1990
    The three novels in this volume all display her characteristic wit, intellectual breadth and narrative brilliance, applied to the different traditional forms into which she breathed new life. The Bookshop is a contemporary comedy of manners, set in a provincial town. In The Gate of Angels romance is combined with the novel of ideas; while The Blue Flower revitalizes historical drama in a study of the eighteenth-century German writer Novalis. Fitzgerald being the genius of the relevant detail and the deftly sketched conceptual context, each book conjures up a different world in a few vivid pages which remain etched on the memory.

The Riverside Villas Murder

Kingsley Amis - 1973
    Only Peter begins to guess at the truth--a dangerous truth--which leads him to the river bank by moonlight. A delightful book, and as with all works by Kingsley Amis, guaranteed to please.

Albert Angelo

B.S. Johnson - 1964
    A failed love affair, the failure to find work as an architect, and the difficulties of substitute teaching cause Albert Angelo to reexamine his life

The Woman of the Pharisees

François Mauriac - 1941
    The Woman of the Pharisees--one of Mauriac's most accomplished novels--is a penetrating evocation of the moral and religious values of a Bordeaux community. In Brigitte, we see how the ideals of love and companionship are stifled in the presence of a self-righteous woman whose austere religious principals lead her to interfere--disastrously--in the lives of others. One by one the unwitting victims fall prey to the bleakness of her "perfection." A conscientious schoolteacher, a saintly priest, her husband and stepdaughter and an innocent schoolboy are all confronted with tragedy and upheaval. But the author's extraordinary gift for psychological insight goes on to show how redeeming features inevitably surface from disaster. The unfolding drama is seen through the discerning eye of a young Louis--Brigitte's stepson--whose point of view is skillfully blended into the mature and understanding adult he later becomes.