Sad Novels?

I’ve read:
Pat Conroy’s “Beach Music”
Jack Kerouac’s “Big Sur”
Hunter S. Thompson’s “The Rum Diaries”
Irvine Welsh’s “Filth”

All are somewhat sad. I’m looking for books that had that wistful, sad aura that Kerouac in particuar had. Any suggestions would be welcome.

“Into Thin Air” by Jon Krakauer: was sad in a tragic loss kind of way.

“Tuck everlasting” by Natalie Babbitt: is an easy read, but has this aura of infinite loneliness.

“Night” by Ely Wisel: Horrifically sad

“Bambi: A Life in the Woods or Bambi: Eine Lebensgeschichte aus dem Walde”: Is not the Disney story, but its original story. Its dark, and its sad…still written for a younger reader, but it left an impression on me forever so I had to mention it.

“Brave New World” by Aldous Huxley: is sad a depressing, makes you hate humanity.

“Stranger” by Albert Camous (sounds like albare camoo): another but sad interesting little piece of existentialism.

That’s about it for me. If I think of more I’ll post them.

The Great Gatsby?

Of Mice and Men

Every time I’ve read it, I end up blubbering and covered in snot. Not very manly.

“Old Tin Sorrows” always puts me in the ‘I think I’ll wrap myself around a keg of beer and let life pass me by’ attitude. The book really captures the feel of an old house where people go to waste away. It’s by Glen Cook.

That moment when you have finished Remains of the Day.

Hmmm. Seems like most of the books being mentioned are just plain sad, not the wistful variety that KillingMachine is looking for…

You might try Philip Roth’s American Pastoral, but I’m not sure of that either… Kind of difficult to pinpoint Kerouac’s “wistful, sad aura”… If you want more truly sad fare, then try A Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry. It’s about people keeping hope when hope is pretty much all they have.

Sorry I’m not much help. :stuck_out_tongue:

In that case how about something along the lines of “Stand By Me.” I’ve never read the book it’s based on but the movie always makes me feel sad that I’ve had to grow up and lose all those cool things kids get to do.

I also know I felt wistfully sad when I finished the Laura Ingels Wilder series, but that was because I fell in love with her and would never get to have any fun with her again. Plus she married somebody else. I moped for several weeks when I finished that.

Thanks for all the suggestions, I’ll be sure to check them all out.

Can’t say that I’m particularly familiar with Kerouac’s brand of wistful and sad, but I imagine Alistair MacLeod’s No Great Mischief would fit the bill quite nicely.

“The Grapes of Wrath” is pretty damned depressing, if you ask me. I love it though. Makes me appreciate my life.

The Ill Made Knight by T.H. White (no relation). I read it while I was in high school. My parents must have thought I was reading a dirty book, but I read it alone because I didn’t want anyone to see me crying.

“The World According to Garp” by John Irving (or is that Irvin) wasn’t really sad but the ending was very depressing.


I mean everyone pretty much just dies at the end. I know people die in real life but he just goes through the list of characters and so many of them just die. A pretty sad way to end a book but I still enjoyed it.

I checked out this thread just to see if anyone would mention Irving’s 'Garp. I find that a lot of people find this book depressing, but I feel the opposite. I love the realist approach of it; IRL everyone dies, too. In fact, I could tell from the early chapters that I would eventually read about everyone’s death (keep in mind that they don’t all die within the plot of the book, Irving just informs us of all their demises, some in the far future). After finishing the book I felt much more at peace with mortality: in the fictional setting of the book, and in real life.

I’ve always found Shel Silverstein’s The Giving Tree to be quite sad, but not in the way you’re looking for.

[Edited by Ukulele Ike on 11-12-2001 at 11:53 AM]

i really did mean to preview that

I understand that everyone dies. But in general everyone doesn’t die at once. And to describe everyone’s death at the end of the book made the ending kind of a downer.


One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest


Very sad when Randal is lobotomized, and also sad when Bromden kills him, even though it meant that RP was free now. That would have been sweet if Ratched was killed. Or given some electric shocks herself.

House of Mirth

After the film version came out earlier this year, the friend I saw it with said that she didn’t think there was a single really happy moment in the whole novel. I’ve re-read it since, and have to agree: it’s all one long, slow slide down for Lily Bart into disgrace, poverty, and death.

The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy

Beautifully written and totally engrossing, with a quiet, mournful air hanging over the whole novel.

The story is ‘The Body’, it’s by Stephen King and it’s in his collection ‘Different Seasons’. It’s very good.