Wise Blood by Flannery O'Connor.

"A Searching Novel of Sin and Redemption," this bizarre story from the queen of Southern Gothic literature is disturbing, hilarious, and profound. Returning war veteran Hazel Motes comes back to his Tennessee home to find it abandoned, precipitating a journey through a garish South, rife with the sacred and profane. Motes, an atheist, is (lack of belief notwithstanding) so preoccupied with theological concepts and symbols that God is inescapably and inexplicably behind every turning of his strange road.

O'Connor never makes interpretation easy, but the depth of her insight into depravity and redemption make this a powerful read.

Haroun and the Sea of Stories by Salman Rushdie

This phantasmagorical tale is part allegory/part meditation on the importance of story. Haroun, a young man from a city that has forgotten its name, travels across a bizarre landscape filled with riddles, puns (in two languages), and colorful characters ...

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