Charles Bukowski’s South Of No North is so far my favorite short story compilation. It is satirical, hilarious, and at times, extremely sad. Charles Bukowski combines gritty realism and satirical fiction seamlessly. All the short stories were great, but one of my favorites was “Politics”. This story takes place just before WWII and is about a college student who pretends to be a Nazi because he got tired of all the “patriots.” He simply shouted anything that he thought was evil and Nazi like, simply because he was tired of everything. I think this story is great because not only is it a hilarious concept, but I completely sympathize with the main character. Sometimes everyone agreeing in self-righteous morality can be incredibly annoying, and disagreeing for just that reason is something I’ve been tempted to do. Not to that extreme, but still.
Nikolai Gogol’s “The Overcoat” is a story that is hilarious in its simplicity. It is set in the 1800s and is about a low-level government official who loves copying documents. He brings documents home to do after work. When he sleeps he dreams about copying documents. The story is focused around the amount of effort it takes the main character to get a new coat and how much planning goes into it. The simplicity of the story, in the simple pleasures of work and the intense importance of an overcoat, shapes a mostly mundane yet simultaneously serial story.