Friday, May 31, 2019

Six of fiction's best bad women

Sara Collins is of Jamaican descent and grew up in Grand Cayman and studied law at the London School of Economics and worked as a lawyer for seventeen years before doing a Master of Studies in Creative Writing at Cambridge University, where she was the recipient of the 2015 Michael Holroyd Prize for Creative Writing. Her debut novel is The Confessions of Frannie Langton.

At LitHub Collins tagged six favorite bad women in fiction, including:
Charlotte Bronte, Jane Eyre

My idea of the kind of woman I wanted to be spilled into me straight from the pages of this book. Jane’s voice was a rallying cry against all the badges of my own supposed powerlessness: as a girl, a black person, and a child in a world where each of those adjectives moved you further away from the center of things. It’s because Jane was such an outsider, just as awkward and at times as angry as I was, that I wanted her to triumph, and it’s because of those same qualities that she does. She was a Victorian anti-heroine par excellence. For all its fierce, far-flung passions, Jane Eyre is a lesson in self-acceptance: “I care for myself.” Jane declares. “The more solitary, the more friendless, the more unsustained I am, the more I will respect myself.” Yes, modern women are disenchanted with the hand Bertha Mason was dealt, and yes, it’s a disgrace that Jane finds contentment in a marriage so far beneath her. But to read Jane Eyre is to bear witness to a consciousness coming alive, and to feel the quickening of your own consciousness as a result.
Read about another entry on the list.

Jane Eyre also made Sophie Hannah's list of fifteen top books with a twist, E. Lockhart's list of five favorite stories about women labeled “difficult,” Sophie Hannah's top ten list of twists in fiction, Gail Honeyman's list of five of her favorite idiosyncratic characters, Kate Hamer's top ten list of books about adopted children, a list of four books that changed Vivian Gornick, Meredith Borders's list of ten of the scariest gothic romances, Esther Inglis-Arkell's top ten list of the most horribly mistreated first wives in Gothic fiction, Martine Bailey’s top six list of the best marriage plots in novels, Radhika Sanghani's top ten list of books to make sure you've read before graduating college, Lauren Passell's top five list of Gothic novels, Molly Schoemann-McCann's lists of ten fictional men who have ruined real live romance and five of the best--and more familiar--tropes in fiction, Becky Ferreira's lists of seven of the best fictional depictions of female friendship and the top six most momentous weddings in fiction, Julia Sawalha's six best books list, Honeysuckle Weeks's six best books list, Kathryn Harrison's list of six favorite books with parentless protagonists, Megan Abbott's top ten list of novels of teenage friendship, a list of Bettany Hughes's six best books, the Guardian's top 10 lists of "outsider books" and "romantic fiction;" it appears on Lorraine Kelly's six best books list, Esther Freud's top ten list of love stories, and Jessica Duchen's top ten list of literary Gypsies, and on John Mullan's lists of ten of the best governesses in literature, ten of the best men dressed as women, ten of the best weddings in literature, ten of the best locked rooms in literature, ten of the best pianos in literature, ten of the best breakfasts in literature, ten of the best smokes in fiction, and ten of the best cases of blindness in literature. It is one of Kate Kellaway's ten best love stories in fiction.

The Page 99 Test: Jane Eyre.

--Marshal Zeringue