Recommend me some good books written in dialect

It occurred to me recently that some of my favorite books are written in dialect, i.e., “Far Tortuga” by Peter Matthiessen, “Fearsum Endjinn” by Iain Banks and “Huckleberry Finn” by that Twain guy.

It then occurred to me that the reason I might like them, independent of their quality is the fact that they’re written in dialect, so I thought I’d ask for some recommendations of other books in which the dialect is heavy-duty. Have at it!

I’ve got a copy of the New Testament written in Scot’s Dialect. Good fun at parties.

May the Lord o Peace himsel gie ye peace aagate an wiout devaul. The lord be wi ye aa.

Well, it’s a lot lighter fare, but Robert Asprin’s M.Y.T.H. Inc. in Action is a favorite of mine.

Bare bones: M.Y.T.H. Inc. is a group of freelance magical-types, who solve problems for big fees in a multi-dimensional fantasy setting.

This particular book (one in a fairly large series) is told from the perspective of a Mob bodyguard who works with the group, Guido. Seems he took his part a bit too seriously when, according to his cousin Nunzio, he played one of the leads in a high school production of Guys and Dolls.

So the whole thing’s essentially written by a guy who speaks “gangster movie slang.”

“The joker what was takin’ down this information gives me a hard look before continuing with his questions.I give him my best innocent look back, which as any jury can tell youse is most convincin’…”

You want dialect? I’ll give you nearly indecipherable dialect:

Uncle Remus
Joel Chandler Harris


The Moon is a Harsh Mistress by Robert Heinlein, written in the dialect of future inhabitants of the moon.

Their Eyes Were Watching God
by Zora Neale Hurston- she’s recently gotten on a postage stamp! (U.S.)

“Trainspotting” by Irvine Welsh and “How late it was, How late” by James Kelman are both pretty heavy on Edingurgh and Glaswegian dialect respectively. Both excellent reads as well.

I see I was beaten to Irvine Welch, so 'll just add that I really liked Marabou Stork Nightmares.

A Clockwork Orange.

Sorry, hit “submit” too soon. I meant to say that A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess is his most famous dialect book, but the same author also wrote a superb book called A Dead Man in Deptford about Christopher Marlowe, entirely in Elizabethan dialect.

Harriet Arnow’s The Dollmaker

Russel Hoban’s Riddley Walker creates an interesting future dialect.

And it’s worth searching out Finley Peter Dunne’s Mr. Dooley stories, some of the most viscious satires ever penned on American politics. Sadly, much of what he railed against is still relevant today. Here’s an example, including his most quoted line (at the end). There’s a larger example at Project Gutenberg.

The Sot-Weed Factor, by John Barth.

This is one of the funniest books I’ve ever read. I literally laughed out loud on many occasions. The dialog is all colonial-period English, but very easy to understand, and seemingly very authentic. The most amazing plot twists and situations ever. YOU MUST READ THIS BOOK!!


Feersum Endjinn by Iain M. Banks.


And not so much dialect, as phonetically written in parts. Yoo reely need to sound out thi wurds. An xselent book.