Thursday, June 15, 2017

Five novels whose main characters are shut-ins

At B&N Reads Jeff Somers tagged "five shut-ins from some terrific books," including:
Ilya Ilyich Oblomov in Oblomov, by Ivan Goncharov

It takes about 50 pages for Ilya Ilyich Oblomov to get out of bed and sit in a chair, exhausted by the effort. A rich landlord in the Russian Empire, Oblomov is intended to satirize the lazy, do-nothing lifestyle prized by many Russian aristocrats, and boy-howdy, does he ever. Coddled and indulged his entire life, Oblomov is so removed from the world, he can barely attend to his own interests, and winds up marrying a woman who allows him to enter a second childhood, wallowing in his bedroom and never dealing with any business he finds disagreeable, until he finally achieves his lifelong dream of eternal sleep…by dying in bed. Oblomov is a frustrating and fascinating character, not least because he never considers true change for the simple reason that he is, in fact, living his best life—he really wants to stay in bed and do nothing. Forever.
Read about the other entries on the list.

Oblomov is among Judith Rosen's funniest books, John Sutherland's top ten overlooked novels, Alexandra Silverman's eight top examples of sloth in literature, Francine du Plessix Gray's five favorite fictional portraits of idleness and lassitude and Emrys Westacott's five best books on bad habits.

The Page 69 Test: Ivan Goncharov's Oblomov.

--Marshal Zeringue