Monday, April 11, 2011

Top ten deranged characters

Edward Docx is the author of The Calligrapher, Self Help, and The Devil's Garden.

For the Guardian, he named a list of literature's top ten deranged characters. One novel on the list:
Pale Fire by Vladimir Nabokov

Nabokov is the undisputed king of the charming, demented narrator. In Pale Fire, Charles Kinbote is ostensibly an academic ostensibly commentating on what is ostensibly his best friend's poem. But it becomes slowly apparent that Kinbote actually believes himself to be Charles the Beloved, the exiled king of Zembla, a fairytale kingdom. And yet, Kinbote may not be Kinbote at all but an alter-ego of the insane Professor V Botkin, to whose delusions the ostensible poet, Shade, and his campus colleagues apparently pander.
Read about the other entries on the list.

Pale Fire's John Shade is among John Mullan's ten best fictional poets. It is one of Tracy Kidder's six best books as well as the novel Charles Storch would save for last. It is one of "Six Memorable Books About Writers Writing" yet it disappointed Ha Jin upon rereading.

--Marshal Zeringue