Friday, May 31, 2019

Six of the best bad women in fiction

Sara Collins is of Jamaican descent and grew up in Grand Cayman and studied law at the London School of Economics and worked as a lawyer for seventeen years before doing a Master of Studies in Creative Writing at Cambridge University, where she was the recipient of the 2015 Michael Holroyd Prize for Creative Writing. Her debut novel is The Confessions of Frannie Langton.

At LitHub Collins tagged six favorite bad women in fiction, including:
Elizabeth Strout, Olive Kitteridge

Olive Kitteridge is irascible, ill-tempered and at times plain abusive. She’s guilty of an emotional affair (at least) with a man whose “wariness” and “quiet anger” reminds her of herself: “We’re both cut from the same piece of bad cloth.” When she overhears her son’s new wife just after their wedding insulting her dress and hinting at her bad parenting, her “mouth begins to secrete” and she invades her daughter-in-law’s closet to scrawl on one of her sweaters with a Magic Marker. Yet no one is at more the mercy of her dark moods than Olive herself, who longs to tell that same daughter-in-law: “there is a thing inside me, and sometimes it swells up like the head of a squid and shoots blackness through me.” Her own desires are far more soft-bellied and complicated than that: “…there had been times when she’d felt a loneliness so deep that once, not so many years ago, having a cavity filled, the dentist’s gentle turning of her chin with his big soft fingers had felt to her like a tender kindness of almost excruciating depth, and she had swallowed with a groan of longing, tears springing to her eyes.” This book evokes the pain and anger of the kind of loneliness that runs that deep.
Read about the other entries on the list.

Olive Kitteridge is among Laura Barnett's ten top unconventional love stories and Sophie Ward's six best books.

--Marshal Zeringue