Edward Bulwer-Lytton is wrong with you?
Surely, most literary nuts have a book or two on their favorites list that no one else in their literary circles has read, or even heard of. If you love an obscure book, you've probably deluded yourself into believing that it's not as obscure as you might think. Either that, or you take pride in the fact that one of your favorites IS obscure. Of course, what "obscurity" means is as relative and fluid as the "favorite book" question itself. So sometimes it's fun to stick a toe in the literary waters and find out how obscure your obscure favorites really are.
For me, the obscure book and my answer to the dreaded "favorite book" situation above was The Power of One, by Bryce Courtney. This inspirational coming-of-age story about young boxer Peekay is set in appatheid-era South Africa. It's probably better known for its (AWFUL) movie version, but the book is absolutely mesmerizing. Even if you hate boxing, you'll be glued to the pages. It's just a heart-wrenching, beautiful novel.
Another of my favorite obscure novels (though not necessarily favorite overall) is Gospel, by Wilton Barhardt. This long adventure novel about a graduate student's modern-day quest to find a lost gospel is just simply lots of fun. There are also a few scenes that poke subtle fun at fundamentalist Christian doctrine, so if you're into that, you'll probably laugh out loud. I read Gospel soon after I read The Da Vinci Code, and actually liked it much more. But, here's how obsure this one is: It's out of print. If you're interested, though, I've seen it frequently at used book stores.
So what are your favorite obscure novels? Why do you like them?