Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Five top fantastical heroines in great children’s books

Lavie Tidhar's latest novels are the forthcoming Unholy Land (2018) and his first children’s novel, Candy (2018). He is the author of many other novels, novellas and short stories. At Tor.com he tagged five fantastical heroines in great children’s books, including:
Scout, from To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

Scout, as everyone probably knows, is Harper Lee, and Dill is Truman Capote. What inspired me here was not just the book, which I love, but the actual life of (Nelle) Harper Lee. Nelle in Candy is named after her, of course. I first came across the idea of Lee as a detective of sort in the films Infamous and Capote, which weirdly came out around the same time, and both concern the writing of Capote’s In Cold Blood. Lee, his childhood friend (and before publication of her seminal novel), joined him on his investigation into the murder of the Clutter family in Holcomb, Kansas. Lee is wonderfully played in the two movies by Sandra Bullock and Catherine Keener, respectively. So “my” Nelle is very much intended as a homage for the young Scout/Harper Lee herself.

It’s probably worth saying Mockingbird is, of course, very much not a fantasy novel, though I don’t know! Boo Radley’s as gothic a character as anything out of Shirley Jackson, and—hold on, can we make this list six characters? Because Merricat, in Jackson’s incredible We Have Always Lived in the Castle is just such a wonderful—if wonderfully disturbing!—character in her own right…

(Incidentally, it once occurred to me to wonder what would have happened had Capote and Lee took a wrong turn and ended up investigating a murder in Innsmouth instead of Holcomb. It’s in a story called—you guessed it—“Cold Blood,” in an anthology called Innsmouth Nightmares… But I digress! Needless to say, though, the manuscript of To Kill a Mockingbird Lee is writing turns out quite a bit different than in our own reality.)
Read about another entry on the list.

To Kill a Mockingbird made Sarah Ward's ten top list of brothers and sisters in fiction, Katy Guest's list of six top books for shy readers, Jeff Somers's top ten list of fictional characters based on actual people, Carol Wall's list of five books that changed her, John Bardinelli's list of five authors who became famous after publishing a single novel and never published another one, Ellie Irving's top ten list of quiet heroes and heroines, a list of five books that changed Richelle Mead, Robert Williams's top ten list of loners in fiction, Alyssa Bereznak's top ten list of literary heroes with weird names, Louise Doughty's top ten list of courtroom dramas, Hanna McGrath's top fifteen list of epic epigraphs, the Telegraph's list of ten great meals in literature, Nicole Hill's list of fourteen characters their creators should have spared, Isla Blair's six best books list, Lauren Passell's list of ten pairs of books made better when read together, Charlie Fletcher's top ten list of adventure classics, Sheila Bair's 6 favorite books list, Kathryn Erskine's top ten list of first person narratives, Julia Donaldson's six best books list, TIME magazine's top 10 list of books you were forced to read in school, John Mullan's list of ten of the best lawyers in literature, John Cusack's list of books that made a difference to him, Lisa Scottoline's top ten list of books about justice, and Luke Leitch's list of ten literary one-hit wonders. It is one of Sanjeev Bhaskar's six best books and one of Alexandra Styron's five best stories of fathers and daughters.

--Marshal Zeringue