Day 2 of the 30 Day Book Challenge demands that I list my least-favorite book. This is difficult because a) if I suspect that I will abhor a book I simply don't pick it up in the first place and b) if I dislike it intensely halfway through, I normally just leave it unfinished.
The book that stands out vividly to me in answer to this question, though, is Thomas Hardy's Jude the Obscure.
I was required to read it one summer during college as a part of an independent study. I remember being horrified by it. The characters were repulsive and the plot, terrifying. Some of the scenes in the book were far more disturbing to me than any thriller I've seen. Most of the book hovers somewhere between grotesque and absurd.
The book traces the path of the protagonist, Jude, as he slugs through life searching desperately for direction and meaning. It is full of apocalyptic Biblical references that only serve to highlight the emptiness of Jude's life.
Ultimately, after a seemingly endless list of failed relationships, shattered ideals, and tragedies, the book abruptly ends on a hopeless note. Significantly, I don't even remember whether Jude died or not at the end of the book. I won't be going back though to find out anytime soon, though.
However, even the darkest book holds some truth. Jude the Obscure vividly demonstrated how dark and horrifying a life without meaning, purpose or direction can be.