Kosinski was a Jewish Polish-American novelist and survivor of nazi-occupied Poland during WWII. He is known for such dark and twisted humorous novels such as The Painted Bird and Being There. I am currently reading Blind Date and below is one of my favorite passages from the book. A perfect sample of his perverse humor:
In the lobby, Levanter saw the woman's daughters playing. He went over to them and asked their ages.
"I'm eight," the older girl said, "and my sister is six."
"What are you going to be when you grow up?" Levanter asked her.
She looked closely at him and, without hesitation, said she wanted to be an actress.
"I know many actresses," said Levanter. "Do you want to audition for a role?"
The girl nodded.
"Let's pretend I am your husband and I have just returned from a trip abroad. While I was away, our dog Frecky died. We loved him very much and you didn't write to me of his passing because you didn't want to upset me. Now you have to break the news to me. Ready?"
As her sister watched with envy, the girl assumed the pose of an anxious wife. Levanter approached with arms outstretched in greeting.
"Darling, how I've missed you. But where is Frecky? Frecky, Frecky! Come here, you master is home."
The girl was flush and perspiring. She took Levanter's hand and patted it. "Sit down my love," she said firmly. "I have something to tell you."
Levanter pushed her aside. "In a minute, darling. Let me find Frecky. Frecky!" He shouted.
"Sit down," the girl insisted. "It's about Frecky"-tears welled up in her eyes-"Frecky is not here."
"Not here? Where is he?"
She moved closer. "If I tell you the truth about Frecky, will you love me just the same?" she whispered.
"Of course I will. You and Frecky are all I have!" exclaimed Levanter.
"Now you have only me," she sobbed. "because Frecky--Frecky is dead." She covered her face.
He was about to pretend to faint when the younger girl ran over to him and pulled at his sleeve. "I can play it better than she did," she said. "I'm a better actress." The girl jumped up and down excitedly.
Levanter repeated his routine. "Frecky, Frecky, where are you? Where is Frecky, my dear little dog?" he exclaimed.
Under the critical gaze of her sister, the little girl searched for the right words. She hesitated, then came closer, focusing her gaze on Levanter. "Frecky won't come," she said tensely. "He's in our bedroom. Upstairs." She stressed each word.
Levanter frowned. "You were supposed to tell me that Frecky was dead. Instead, you said he was upstairs. You forgot your lines."
"I didn't forget my lines," said the girl firmly. "If I'm your wife, I love you too much to tell you just like this that Frecky is dead. So I'm telling you he's upstairs. You'll go upstairs and find Frecky there--dead!"