Comic Relief: Ten Classic Novels that Bring the Laughs

By The Center for Fiction

By The Center for Fiction

“God is a comedian playing to an audience too afraid to laugh.” — Voltaire


These are troubling times and, though our physical bookstore is closed, we want to continue offering our community a respite from the stress. What better than laughter to provide that relief? From 20th century classics to contemporary favorites, escape into these absorbing comic novels.

A Confederacy of Dunces (Anniversary)

John Kennedy Toole

$16.00 $14.72

This sidesplitting masterpiece stars Ignatius J. Reilly, an instantly iconic character: a hugely overweight, mother-abusing, underemployed lazy slob who captured the hearts of readers everywhere, and won a posthumous Pulitzer Prize in 1981.

The Sellout

Paul Beatty

$17.00 $15.64

A stinging comic satire, Beatty brilliantly scores with his multiple award-winning, ingenious novel that culminates in a race trial at the Supreme Court and a bid to bring back slavery.


Evelyn Waugh

$15.99 $14.71

No one does dry mordant wit better than Waugh in his dark comedies and this skewering of the business of journalism is both timely and timeless, and laugh-out loud funny.

Master and Margarita (UK)

Mikhail Bulgakov

$24.99 $22.49

A masterwork of 20th century literature, set both in Moscow and ancient Jerusalem, and featuring the Devil and the Witch Queen. Not published until the 60s, it remains a must-read as a brilliant satire of Soviet life under Stalin.

My Sister, the Serial Killer

Oyinkan Braithwaite

$14.95 $13.75

Two sisters, the unstable sociopath with a penchant for murdering her boyfriends, and the protective sister who cleans up her messes are inextricably entwined in Braithwaite’s delicious literary satire.


Andrew Sean Greer

$15.99 $14.71

A great topic for a navel-gazing literary parody: the ubiquitous literary boondoggle, here following a hapless, failed novelist in a full-blown mid-life crisis from France to Berlin to Morocco to India. Hilarious entertainment with a big heart.

In Persuasion Nation

George Saunders

$16.00 $14.72

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy

Douglas Adams

$7.99 $7.35

Cocktail Time

P. G. Wodehouse