Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Unlikeable Characters

For an upcoming graduate school workshop, I had to re-read Ian McEwan's Atonement. The workshop is about unlikeable characters. I first read Atonement years and years ago when a book rep told me it was unforgettable (it wasn't even a book he repped). I read it, and indeed I found it breathtaking in both scope and imagery. But I thought I must have missed something because I didn't remember any unlikeable characters. Imperfect, yes. Fallible, sure. But I liked them all. So, I re-read it, looking hard for what I surely missed. (it is no great hardship to re-read a loved book). Huh. I still didn't find any one of them very unlikeable. Have you read Atonement? What do you think? I'll be interested to attend the workshop and see what the presenter has to say.

And then my wonderful librarian told me I HAD to read Herman Koch's The Dinner. Talk about unlikeable characters!!! Holy moly. I can't say too much but I will say that this is the first book in years to keep me awake at night. It is that disturbing. And it is for sure not for the faint of heart. But, if you want to read a book that unabashedly goes there, read this. And do it now, in the summer, when it's light out longer and things won't seem so bleak.

1 comment:

  1. If I recall correctly there is a younger sister who does something awful and it changes the course of her self involved older sister's life. Was that basically it? I didn't really like the older or younger sister. But there seemed to be a sort of affable fiancee somewhere in the mix. I think. I remember the sparkly prose and the way you feel a bit addicted while reading...but not that any one character was all that likable. More recently I read the new book by J.K. Rowling. And in that book- another tome- I REALLY could bit find a single likable character and in THAT book it really bothered me. I just could not invest.