Sunday, July 7, 2013

Literature's ten most disturbing sociopaths

At LitReactor, Kimberly Turner named literature's ten most disturbing sociopaths, including:
Hannibal Lecter — Red Dragon and others by Thomas Harris

Skills: Licensed psychiatrist, extreme charmer, Epicurean, bibliophile, music lover, foodie—if you didn't know about the cannibalism and serial killing, you'd be tempted to invite him to your next dinner party. Just don't serve Chianti.

Dirty deeds: Yet ANOTHER orphan (note to writers: not all sociopaths need to be orphans), Lecter watched his sister get cannibalized when he was eight. Apparently that does bad things to a person's head. He kills every man who played a part in his sister's death—so far, it's a vigilante story not too far removed from The Crow or Batman—but he doesn't stop there. He goes on to become a prolific serial killer and blood-thirsty cannibal, later escaping from prison by cutting off a guard's face and using it as a mask. Presumably, that's easier and more subtle than stealing a guard's hat and keeping your head down.

Quote: "I collect church collapses, recreationally. Did you see the recent one in Sicily? Marvelous! The facade fell on sixty-five grandmothers at a special mass. Was that evil? If so, who did it? If he's up there, he just loves it, Officer Starling. Typhoid and swans - it all comes from the same place."
Read about the other entries on the list.

Red Dragon also appears John Mullan's lists of ten of the best dragons in literature and ten of the best tattoos in literature, and the (U.K.) Telegraph 110 best books; Andre Gross says "it should be taught as [a text] in Thriller 101."

--Marshal Zeringue