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the Complete Review


The Most Unusual Books
at the
complete review


     The complete review does not review books indiscriminately, but we are always willing to consider the unusual, the bizarre, and the new.
     Books that are out of the ordinary have their own special appeal. Here is our selection of the most unusual books currently under review, ranked in some order of peculiarity, in the categories:


The Most Unusual Fiction under Review:

  1. Arno Schmidt's supranovel The School for Atheists -- fanciful and yet amazingly grounded literary experimentation
  2. Matthew McIntosh's theMystery.doc -- massive, and unusual in its presentation
  3. Richard Horn's 1969 novel-as-Encyclopedia
  4. Maurice Roche's Compact -- unusual presentation, and a wild story
  5. A Cinematographic Tale by Jules Romains, Donogoo-Tonka -- a not-quite-screenplay novel from the silent era
  6. Alejandro Zambra's Multiple Choice -- fiction in the form of a multiple choice test
  7. Guillaume Lecasble's Lobster -- lobster passion (and the Titanic)
  8. Romain Gary's Hocus Bogus -- writing as Émile Ajar, and deconstructing himself
  9. Volter Kilpi's Gulliver's Voyage to Phantomimia -- A transcreation by Douglas Robinson
  10. Ed Wood's Killer in Drag and its sequel Death of a Transvestite -- as far-fetched as fiction gets
  11. Roberto Bolaño imagines Nazi Literature in the Americas
  12. Edouard Levé's Works -- 533 works conceived of but (largely) not realized by its author
  13. Matías Celedón's The Subsidiary -- a novel-in-(office-)stamps
  14. Tanaka Yasuo's Somehow, Crystal -- the short novel with 442 footnotes
  15. Jean-Jacques Schuhl's Dusty Pink -- a composite take on its times
  16. Julio Cortázar's Fantomas versus the Multinational Vampires -- metafictional mix of comic book story and Russell Tribunal
  17. Padgett Powell's The Interrogative Mood -- entirely in the form of questions
  18. William H. Gass' Willie Masters' Lonesome Wife -- a typographically creative tale
  19. Gerhard Roth's the autobiography of albert einstein -- not an autobiography of Albert Einstein
  20. Jeff Noon's Cobralingus -- ten sampled examples from the Cobralingus Engine
  21. Harry Mathews' Selected Declarations of Dependence -- proverbial insanity
  22. Mark Z. Danielewski's House of Leaves -- an elaborate mockumentary novel
  23. The Thackery T. Lambshead Pocket Guide to Eccentric and Discredited Diseases -- medical guide
  24. Gellu Naum's My Tired Father and Zenobia -- Romanian surreality
  25. Steve Beard's Digital Leatherette -- ambient cypherpunk fiction
  26. Irmtraud Morgner's The Life and Adventures of Trobadora Beatrice as Chronicled by her Minstrel Laura -- a modern East German classic, a montage novel of stunning breadth and depth
  27. Georges Perec's Three -- easy pieces, a variety of OULIPO approaches
  28. Daniel Evan Weiss' Honk if you love Aphrodite -- an unlikely modern epic
  29. Harry Mathews' Singular Pleasures -- one-handed exercises
  30. Antonio Vignali's La cazzaria: The Book of the Prick -- A cocky 16th century dialogue
  31. Marty Asher's The Boomer -- a wispy and almost wordless novel of a generation
  32. All of Steve Aylett's works -- wild, varied fictions

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The Most Unusual Non-Fiction under Review:

  1. Robert Burton's The Anatomy of Melancholy -- the ultimate Übertext
  2. Ben Schott's Schott's Original Miscellany and Schott's Food & Drink Miscellany -- gathering "the flotsam and jetsam of the conversational tide"
  3. Chris Brook and Gimpo's K Foundation burn a Million Quid -- a fascinating documentary of a peculiar deed
  4. Heimrad Bäcker's entirely documentary but pared-down transcript
  5. Oyekan Owomoyela's collection of Yoruba Proverbs -- comprehensive and overwhelming
  6. Spacebloom -- A Field Guide to Cosmic Xflora
  7. Sophie Calle tries to reconstruct a life from The Address Book
  8. Francis Ponge's strange little look at Soap
  9. Life Turns Man Up and Down -- a collection African market literature, edited by Kurt Thometz
  10. Judge Richard Posner offers A Guide to America's Sex Laws -- more than you ever wanted to know
  11. Jack Green's Fire the Bastards ! -- ranting against the book reviewers
  12. Zilahy Péter's The Last Window-Giraffe -- A Picture Dictionary for the Over Fives
  13. Andrei Codrescu offers The Posthuman Dada Guide -- tzara and lenin play chess
  14. Ilya Zbarsky's story of Lenin's Embalmers -- formaldehyde and history
  15. Ed Wood's Hollywood Rat Race -- an unlikely (and less than helpful) guide
  16. Jimmy Cauty and Bill Drummond's The Manual -- the guide to making it to number one on the pop charts
  17. Steve Jones' Almost Like a Whale (US title: Darwin's Ghost) -- an update of Darwin
  18. Julian Cope's The Modern Antiquarian -- a monumental megalithic guidebook

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