Wednesday, June 19, 2013

The ten worst fathers in books

Fiona Maazel is the author of the novels Last Last Chance and Woke Up Lonely.

For Publishers Weekly, she came up with a list of the ten worst fathers in books, including:
Humbert Humbert - Okay, let’s just get it over with: Humbert Humbert! Worst stepdad ever! We find him in Nabokov’s Lolita, contriving to marry one Charlotte Haze so that he can get close to her twelve-year-old daughter. When Charlotte dies (as if in penance for having discovered Humbert’s lust), he has his way with Dolores. But not without recording his transgressions in such gorgeous prose, you almost don’t care that he’s a pedophile. For instance: “You have to be an artist and a madman, a creature of infinite melancholy, with a bubble of hot poison in your loins and a super-voluptuous flame permanently aglow in your subtle spine (oh, how you have to cringe and hide!), in order to discern at once, by ineffable signs—the slightly feline outline of a cheekbone, the slenderness of a downy limbs, and other indices which despair and shame and tears of tenderness forbid me to tabulate—the little deadly demon among the wholesome children; she stands unrecognized by them and unconscious herself of her fantastic power.”
Read about the other bad dads on Maazel's list.

Lolita appears on Jennifer Gilmore's list of the ten worst mothers in books, Steven Amsterdam's list of five top books that have anxiety at their heart, John Banville's five best list of books on early love and infatuation, Kathryn Harrison's list of favorite books with parentless protagonists, Emily Temple's list of ten of the greatest kisses in literature, John Mullan's list of ten of the best lakes in literature, Dan Vyleta's top ten list of books in second languages, Rowan Somerville's top ten list of books of good sex in fiction, Henry Sutton's top ten list of unreliable narrators, Adam Leith Gollner's top ten list of fruit scenes in literature, Laura Hird's literary top ten list, Monica Ali's ten favorite books list, Laura Lippman's 5 most important books list, Mohsin Hamid's 10 favorite books list, and Dani Shapiro's 10 favorite books list.

Visit Fiona Maazel's website

Writers Read: Fiona Maazel (April 2013).

--Marshal Zeringue