Guest Post: On Writing Unlikable Places
Guest Posts , Latest Posts / September 10, 2013

The pub­lisher is giv­ing away one copy to three (3) winners of The Gods of Heavenly Punishment–to enter fill out the Raf­fle­copt­ter form at the end of the post. On Writing Unlikable Places A few months back, like many writers—and women writers in particular, I suspect–I followed the literary debate over “likable” characters with some interest. For those who might have missed, it all started with an interview Publishers Weekly sat down to with novelist Claire Messud, and their guileless assertion that Nora, the unambiguously furious main character of Messud’s novel The Woman Upstairs, wasn’t someone they’d “want to be friends with.” As Jennifer Weiner later put it in Slate in her thought-provoking response to the exchange,  Messud all but “flipped the table”: For heaven’s sake, what kind of question is that? Would you want to be friends with Humbert Humbert? Would you want to be friends with Mickey Sabbath? Saleem Sinai? Hamlet? Krapp? Oedipus? Oscar Wao? Antigone? Raskolnikov? Any of the characters in The Corrections? Any of the characters in Infinite Jest? Any of the characters in anything Pynchon has ever written? Or Martin Amis? Or Orhan Pamuk? Or Alice Munro, for that matter? If you’re reading to find friends,…

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