Stanley Elkin

Stanley Elkin was an American novelist, short story writer, and essayist known for his satirical and often darkly humorous exploration of American culture. His writing is characterized by its verbal inventiveness and complex narrative style. Elkin's notable works include 'The Franchiser', 'George Mills', and 'The MacGuffin'. Throughout his career, he received several prestigious awards, including the National Book Critics Circle Award for his novel 'George Mills' in 1982.


This list of books are ONLY the books that have been ranked on the lists that are aggregated on this site. This is not a comprehensive list of all books by this author.

  1. 1. The Living End

    "The Living End" is a darkly comedic and surreal exploration of the afterlife, where the protagonist, a liquor store owner, finds himself navigating the absurdities and injustices of heaven and hell following a violent robbery that leads to his untimely death. The narrative delves into themes of divine justice, eternal punishment, and the whims of a capricious God, as the protagonist encounters a cast of bizarre characters and experiences the ultimate existential crisis. Through sharp wit and biting satire, the story critiques religious conventions and the human quest for meaning in the face of an often indifferent universe.

  2. 2. The Franchiser

    This novel revolves around the life of a young man who, despite suffering from multiple sclerosis, decides to invest his inheritance in a chain of fast-food franchises across America. As he travels from one location to another, he encounters various characters and situations, each reflecting different aspects of American society and culture. The narrative explores themes of capitalism, consumerism, and the American Dream while also providing a poignant portrayal of the protagonist's struggle with his disease.

  3. 3. George Mills

    This novel follows the story of George Mills, a character cursed by his lineage to be an eternal servant, a fate passed down from generation to generation for a thousand years. The narrative explores the trials and tribulations of Mills as he navigates his life, dealing with his inherited servitude and the societal changes around him. The book delves into themes of destiny, fate, and the human condition, offering a poignant commentary on class struggle and the power of individual will.

  4. 4. Mrs. Ted Bliss

    Mrs. Ted Bliss is a novel about an elderly widow living in a Miami high-rise. She becomes involved in a world of crime and intrigue when she befriends a drug dealer. Throughout the story, she navigates her way through life's complexities, dealing with her own mortality, the changing world around her, and the realities of aging. The book is a mixture of humor and pathos, offering a unique perspective on the human condition.