Thursday, January 31, 2008

Quirky

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This week’s question is suggested by (blogless) JMutford:

Sometimes I find eccentric characters quirky and fun, other times I find them too unbelievable and annoying. What are some of the more outrageous characters you’ve read, and how do you feel about them?

It depends upon the skill of the writer, I think. Anne Tyler wrote the best quirky characters of all back in the 70s and 80s--the Tulls, the Pecks, Macon Leary, Charlotte Emory, Jeremy Pauling. I've just finished Jessica Mitford's Hons and Rebels, a memoir of growing up in an extremely eccentric aristocratic family, that I loved and I would actually come down completely in the Quirky = Good column were in not for awful, awful fare like Billie Letts' Where the Heart Is. I'm sad to report that plenty of People Who Are Not Me enjoy Letts and believed in her characters--my friend A.'s bookclub claimed that that this book showed just how some people are. Flannery O'Connor would not have been amused.

Booking Through Thursday

11 comments:

Chris said...

I did like Where the Heart Is (I read it ages ago). Sorry ;) They were quirky but I don't think that real people are like that. I don't know anyone named Brownie.

heather (errantdreams) said...

I have to agree---a great author can do amazing things with insanely quirky characters!

teabird said...

Oh, I love the characters in those novels by Anne Tyler -- Morgan from Morgan's Passing, for example.
Thanks for reminding me about these great characters!

Lesley said...

I did so love Hons and Rebels — now that lot were completely eccentric, especially Fa (which is what we call my husband when we're mucking about!)

pussreboots said...

Morgan is a fantastic choice for a quirky character. Happy BTT.

litlove said...

I really loved this, and I couldn't agree more about the characters in novels by Tyler and Mitford.

Bybee said...

Morgan's Passing was the first Tyler novel I read back in high school. The blurb on the front cover compared him to Garp...he and his mother Jenny Fields are also pretty eccentric.

SFP said...

*slaps self upside head* I left out Morgan. How'd I leave out Morgan!?! After I lucked upon a hardback copy of Morgan's Passing at the Strand last summer and I've read the paperback so many times the back cover's fallen off?

I think I need to expand my list--and yes, Garp and Jenny Fields should be on there.

GeraniumCat said...

I was going to include Fa, but then left him out at the last minute - I've been reading from the other point of view, though - Nancy Mitford's fictionalised account in The Pursuit of Love and Love in a Cold Climate. And Macon Leary is a great character. Haven't read Morgan's Passing - shall be looking out for it.

Literary Feline said...

It looks like I really must move Anne Tyler up in my TBR pile.

SFP said...

Those are going to be my next Mitfords, Geranium Cat. And then I'll read Jessica's second memoir and then move out into bios and letters. I can't imagine getting tired of these people.

And Literary Feline, you can't go wrong with Anne Tyler. I'd recommend starting with something that's more than a decade old, for your introduction, if you are reading her primarily for the quirkiness.