Breakfast of Champions, by Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. (1973)
Kilgore Trout, little-known writer (who is sane, despite what many people might think) is heading towards Midland City, where he will meet up with Dwayne Hoover, deranged Pontiac dealer. This is their story, told in an interesting narrative, that comments on many aspects of everyday life in an amusing satire.
The World According to Garp, by John Irving (1978).
Perhaps Mr. Irving’s best know novel, this spans the life of T.S. Garp, starting with his mother’s deciding to have a child (without dealing with a husband), and following through his life. The many plot twists are difficult to describe without revealing plot twists, so I will leave the book to you to read and enjoy. Mr. Irving has a talent for keeping the reader engaged throughout the extended plot, and the twisting side-plots enhance the story (for the most part), rather then detract.
The book contains many of Mr. Irving’s signature themes, including bears, Vienna and New England.
The Name of the Rose, by Umberto Eco (1980, translated to English in 1983)
In 1327, a Friar (William of Baskerville) and his novice travel to benedictine Monastery, but their arrival is marred by a suicide. As other monks die under mysterious circumstance, William is asked to help investigate, which leads through a series of clues, involving a labyrinth and more in this historical murder mystery.
The exciting plot is tampered with convoluted lines and stories-within-stories, but while the writing is dense, this is generally well respected, and is included on Le Monde’s list of 100 Books of the Century.