Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Eight novels about male protagonists by female authors

Scarlett Harris is an Australian culture critic, with a focus on professional wrestling and television. She’s writing a book about women’s wrestling, A Diva Was a Female Version of a Wrestler, forthcoming in 2021.

At CrimeReads, Harris tagged eight classic and contemporary novels, written by women, that offer insight into damaged male psyches, including:
An American Marriage by Tayari Jones

Tayari Jones worked on An American Marriage, her 2018 bestseller, Women’s Prize for fiction winner and Barack Obama summer reading list recipient, for years before incorporating the perspectives of Roy and Andre, the two men vying for third protagonist Celestial’s love.

Roy’s chapters are written in the form of prison love letters—he was wrongly convicted for rape within a year of marrying Celestial, who has since found success in her doll-making business, while also reconnecting with her childhood best friend, the boy-next-door Andre.

“You don’t know how demoralizing it is to be a man with nothing to offer a woman,” Jones writes from Roy’s perspective. In order to get the tone of his letters right Jones, a life-long letter writer herself, studied letters from incarcerated men during a fellowship at Harvard’s Radcliffe Institute in 2011.

An American Marriage grapples with wrongful imprisonment, mass incarceration, the expectations of black women to “stand by their man” and, just as interestingly, black masculinity.
Read about another entry on the list.

An American Marriage is among Tochi Onyebuchi's seven books about surviving political & environmental disasters, Ruth Reichl's six novels she enjoyed listening to while cooking, Brad Parks's top eight books set in prisons, Sara Shepard's six top stories of deception,and Julia Dahl's ten top books about miscarriages of justice.

--Marshal Zeringue