Picaresque Novel historyThe picaresque novel is a very popular sub-genre of the prose fiction, is often confused with the comedy novel as it includes as well a lot of humorist elements to tell the story on a realistic and sarcastic way, usually the story of a roguish anti hero living on a mundane or corrupt society.
This genre of novel was originated in sixteenth century Spain and became popular on Europe in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries and continues to influence modern literature. Arabic literature, which was read widely in Spain in the time of Al-Andalus and also possessed a literary tradition with similar themes, is another possible formative influence on the picaresque style.
The modern picaresque style is believed to have started with Lazarillo de Tormes who was published anonymously in Belgium and Spain in 1554. A more modern examples of a picaresque novel can be “The White Tiger” which is the debut novel by Indian author Aravind Adiga. It was first published in 2008 and won the Man Booker Prize in the same year. The novel provides a darkly comical view of modern day life in India through the narration of its main character Balram Halwai. The main theme of the novel is the contrast between India's rise as a modern global economy and its working class people living in the poverty.
Another good modern example of a picaresque novel is “Diary of a Viagra fiend”, written by Jason Gallaway on June 2004, this picaresque novel tells the story of a man and the hilarious ride about his libido, introducing on a sarcastic and funny way the inhibitions of humans regarding to sex behaviors and the use of the Viagra as a metaphor.
Even though this is not a new genre, it has been gaining more popularity on the last decades as culture and society have began to be more open minded and take mundane situations with a little bit more of sarcasm and black humor.