Gates of Eden by Ethan Coen is a superb collection of fast paced and chaotic short stories. The situations in which the characters turn up are wide and varied, but perhaps the most detailed (as well as funny) descriptions are based on his own Jewish upbringing.
Essentially, the main characters in all the stories spend most of their time messing things up, doing things wrong or just being generally dim-witted. If your life is anything like mine you’ll be able to relate to this with gut wrenching humour.
Stand out stories include the highly amusing ‘Gates of Eden’, in which a washed up Californian official ends up having sex with a clients wife in their swimming pool, then falls ill and shits all over the Japanese garden. And ‘Red Wing’, which is an incredibly sad black comedy about a bloke that ends up chopping his wife’s head off because she turns into a bitch.
Because there are no definite heroes or villains here, all the stories are somehow believable, which of course makes the funny bits funnier and the dark bits really scary. It’s nearly enough to convince me to jack my job in and start living life on the edge, wherever that is.