Saturday, April 25, 2009

Five best books with characters on the edge

For the Wall Street Journal, Lynne Sharon Schwartz named her favorite novels featuring characters on the edge.

Number One on her list:
I'm Not Stiller
by Max Frisch
Abelard-Schuman, 1958

Can a person erase his unsatisfactory past by an act of will? Can an invented self feel more authentic than the life cast aside? Those are the questions posed by the Swiss writer Max Frisch (1911-91) in his novel "I'm Not Stiller," a brilliant look at the nature of identity. Arrested after a scuffle with a customs officer in a train station, Anatol Stiller insists that the police have the wrong man, despite ample evidence to the contrary. Instead he claims to be Jim White, an American with a colorful history of adventure and derring-do -- a far cry from the actual Stiller, a tormented Swiss sculptor alienated from his work, his wife and his native land. Stiller's story (first published in German in 1954), with digressions on art, politics and marriage, makes fascinating reading for anyone who has ever wished to start over as someone new.
Read about all five books on Schwartz's list.

--Marshal Zeringue