Every other genre — thriller, romance, science fiction, western — supports a pantheon of masters and attracts new writers every year. But comic fiction remains a cabin on a treacherous mountain trail that somebody breaks into every few years and then abandons. If you’re looking for humor in the form of a novel, here are a few!
● “Big Trouble,” by Dave Barry. The funnyman’s first novel involves nuclear bombs, Russian gangsters, giant pythons — just ordinary life in Miami.
● “Heartburn,” by Nora Ephron. This debut novel, inspired by Ephron’s failed marriage to Washington Post reporter Carl Bernstein, was later made into a movie starring Meryl Streep and Jack Nicholson.
● “The Hills at Home,” by Nancy Clark. One summer, relatives come to visit a retired schoolteacher in her sprawling, run-down estate — and courteously refuse to leave.
● “Less,” by Andrew Sean Greer. This Pulitzer Prize-winning story follows a writer around the world from one disastrous author event to another.
● “Lucky Jim,” by Kingsley Amis. The story of a young English professor is the best comic novel of all time.
● “The Sellout,” by Paul Beatty. The first American novel to win the U.K. Booker Prize is about a “social pyromaniac” who tries to save his California town by resegregating it.