Lost in the Funhouse (1968)- John Barth
Verdict: Try it.
Lost in the Funhouse is a fearless short story collection where subject matter is constantly inverted from the norm and readers are meant to be teased. The mundane becomes the epic and the epic becomes the mundane. Narrators are often comically self-conciousness, supposedly bored with their work, and yet, occasionally boastful. Of course, every boast is appropriately paired with the sting of hilarious self-deprication. John Barth is clearly having a great time, and it is the reader who really benefits.
Ultimately, Lost in the Funhouse is a literary master’s hall of mirrors on paper and a Metafictions “R” Us, but for some that means it will be a confusing 200 page hike. Are you well versed in greek mythology? Are you a close reader? A fan of literary puzzles? Like stories about telling stories? Willing to put up with intentional obscurity? If not, try something else. For many who aren’t well versed in all of the minor details (like me), Barth’s playfulness and skill will make up for any confusion. But it’s not for everyone, and Barth is well aware of that. I loved it. Maybe you will too. Try it.