What is transgressive fiction? Well, if you find yourself saying “damn, that’s fucked up” more than three times but keep on reading, there’s a pretty good chance the book in front of you is a work of transgressive literature. But that’s a pretty wide net. So for the purpose of this list, we will not be including hardcore horror or splatter punk (otherwise Ed Lee and Wrath James White would make an appearance) or Bizarro (like Carlton Mellick’s Haunted Vagina or Matthew Stoke’s Cow). What we are left with are ten novels that made me question my reality and look for beauty in the most unexpected places.


Click Here to Find Out My Top 10 

Christoph Paul is an award-winning humor author. He writes non-fiction, YA, Bizarro, horror, and poetry including: The Passion of the Christoph, Great White House Volume 1 and Volume 2, Slasher Camp for Nerd Dorks, and Horror Film Poems. He is an editor for CLASH Media and CLASH Books and edited the anthologies Walk Hand in Hand Into Extinction: Stories Inspired by True Detective and This Book Ain’t Nuttin to Fuck With: A Wu-Tang Tribute Anthology. Under the pen name Mandy De Sandra, he writes Bizarro Erotica that has been covered in VICE, Huffington Post, Jezebel, and AV Club. He is represented by Veronica Park at the Corvisiero Literary Agency. Here is a link to his work. 

11 thoughts on “Top Ten Transgressive Novels

  1. Dear Mr.Paul,
    Greetings. I am a fan of Indian writer Charu Nivedita. May I kindly bring to your notice that his novel Zero Degree is considered by many as one of the best in transgressive fiction.

    Please go through the following links, when you are free.

    1.) An excerpt from Zero Degree : http://www.blaft.com/cp/book_pages/6.pdf

    2.) A paper on International Organization of Scientific Research (IOSR) places Zero Degree on par with Burroughs’ Naked Lunch. – http://www.iosrjournals.org/iosr-jhss/papers/Vol19-issue8/Version-5/G019853739.pdf

    3.) Charu’s interview : http://charuonline.com/blog/?p=1672 (Author’s Parole)

    4.) Charu’s wiki page : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charu_Nivedita


  2. I would not agree with this list whatsoever – transgressive isn’t “What is shocking to an audience” – You should throw in the First Testament. It’s not as if it’s anything new, from the Beats to the Brat Pack of Lit and in between and after. This is what bothers me, Transgressive is not pornography.

  3. Having read the comments on this site, it occurs to me that I may have written a Transgressive Novel. I wonder if you agree. Here’s the plot-line:
    An obese nymphomaniac conspires with her husband, a homicidal maniac, to kill their gay psychopathic son (a victim of child abuse) and his protector, a brutish Mafia boss with a penchant for young boys.

  4. I have a completed transgressive novel.

    Do you have any ideas which literary agents or publishers might be interested in it?



  5. Thanks for the list and the references, but I feel you’re mixing up transgressive with extreme and bizarro books. Transgressive fiction tackle a taboo but brings it to the real world. By your standards Burrough and the beatniks are the fathers of transgressive.

    Mona Simpson, Amy Hempel, Albert Camus, Gillian Flynn, Denis Johnson, William Gay, Mark Richard. Stephen Graham Jones. Hubert Selby Jr. JG Ballard.

    I’ll definitely look into Nersesian who I didn’t know though.

    Thanks again.

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