Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Ten top novels about class-conscious narrators

Barbara Bourland is the author of the critically acclaimed I’ll Eat When I’m Dead, a Refinery29 Best Book of 2017 and an Irish Independent Book of the Year, and the newly released Fake Like Me.

At CrimeReads she tagged ten favorite novels about class-conscious narrators, including:
The Mysterious Affair at Styles, Agatha Christie

Nobody encompasses neurotic class consciousness quite like detective Hercule Poirot, who, while European, is Belgian, specifically, Walloonian. The Wallons are to the French as the coal workers of the Adirondacks are to the tennis set of Kennebunkport: that is to say, “not our class.” I grew up speaking Walloonian French and to this day, upon a single *efficient* utterance of “nennant” in lieu of “quatre-vignt-dix” (“ninety” instead of “four-times-twenty-plus-ten” for the number 90), the nearest “real French” person will simply begin speaking to someone else. Poirot’s affinity for his moustache, his desire for cleanliness at all costs, his obsession with “the best” of everything, his mere Belgian-ness, makes him the perfect foil to Christie’s high-class drawing room murders. This book, first in the series, is where you should begin.
Read about another entry on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue