Thursday, August 15, 2019

Five notable sympathetic fictional psychopaths

Elizabeth Macneal's debut novel is The Doll Factory.

At CrimeReads she tagged five sympathetic fictional psychopaths, including:
Amy Dunne from Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

On the morning of Nick and Amy Dunne’s wedding anniversary, Amy goes missing. What follows is a he said / she said account of what led to her disappearance, with Nick looking increasingly guilty. But things are not as they seem, and a fantastic twist reveals Amy Dunne as a psychopath—I actually gasped when I read it.

But rather than loathing Amy, I found myself not only impressed by her, but actively rooting for her. Part of this, I think was because of her relatability—her rant on “the cool girl” myth, and her fight against perfection, after always feeling the need to conform to the stories of “Amazing Amy.” What’s more, Flynn’s decision to place her in jeopardy around Jeff and Shawna, and later Desi, left me wanting her to escape, to survive. And behind it, her husband Nick might be redeemable, but he is also ineffectual, unfaithful and scarcely knows her—didn’t he deserve some sort of punishment, I wondered? There was something so escapist in her unapologetic quest for revenge—hers is a turbo-charged account of the bold, outrageous lengths we could go to if wronged, but know we never will.
Read about the other entries on the list.

Gone Girl made Jo Jakeman's top ten list of revenge novels, Amanda Craig's list of favorite books about modern married life, Sarah Pinborough's top ten list of unreliable narrators, C.A. Higgins's top five list of books with plot twists that flip your perception, Ruth Ware's top ten list of psychological thrillers, Jane Alexander's top ten list of treasure hunts in fiction, Fanny Blake's list of five top books about revenge, Monique Alice's list of six great fictional evil geniuses, Jeff Somers's lists of the top five best worst couples in literature, six books that’ll make you glad you’re single and five books with an outstanding standalone scene that can be read on its own, Lucie Whitehouse's ten top list of psychological suspense novels with marriages at their heart and Kathryn Williams's list of eight of fiction’s craziest unreliable narrators.

--Marshal Zeringue