Sunday, August 5, 2012

Five best novels with vengeful women

Louise Doughty is the author of the novels Crazy Paving, Dance with Me, Honey-Dew, Fires in the Dark, Stone Cradle, and Whatever You Love, as well as the nonfiction book A Novel in a Year.

One of her five favorite tales of vengeful women, as told to the Wall Street Journal:
Dirty Weekend
by Helen Zahavi (1991)

I can still remember the visceral shock I felt as a young single woman reading Helen Zahavi's first novel, which burst upon a rather staid early-1990s U.K. literary scene like a firework. Every woman who has ever had a fantasy about taking revenge on a man can identify with its heroine. "This is the story of Bella," it begins, "who woke up one morning and realised she'd had enough." Bella is a young woman living alone in a basement flat in the seaside town of Brighton, where a serial killer is stalking the streets. Zahavi gives Bella's voice a cool, ironic tone with a great deal of underlying humor, but the lightness of the prose style is deceptive—beneath the clean and readable surface lurks a deeply transgressive story with a twist in its tail. The novel is, as one reviewer described it, everything that Bret Easton Ellis's "American Psycho" "wants to be and isn't." Eleven years after I first picked up "Dirty Weekend," its portrait of a victimized woman who turns to violence has lost none of its power.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue