Friday, July 11, 2008

Beloved

Friday morning and I've missed every deadline that makes up my daily routine. My son is at home because of a sore throat and enjoying his hard won time in front of the tv - Superman doing his thing. Baby daughter is beside me doing her darndest to turn over and establish a new milestone. Louis Armstrong is crooning Moon River on Media Player and I just read a funny, warm email from my husband. Lets just say that I'm in that particular state of mind that brings words like "contentment" and "well being" to mind. Perfect in fact, to take up Prats' tag and do it full justice :). She would like me to list out my top ten literary characters and I'm very happy to oblige.

I've done a mental prod through all the books I've ever read. Covering almost every genre and type. But no type of book has ever come quite close to upstaging for me the "classics" with their inmpossibly archaic scenarios. Zimbly love it! :). First on my list :

1. I'm going to have to cheat and put two names here. Jane Eyre and Mr. Rochester from Bronte's classic. I first read it in school and I think to this day it has endured as my model for the most romantic story ever. My husband even thinks that I must have been a Quaker in my last birth. Jane is perfect and Mr. Rochester is the sort of man I want to be in love with.

2. Ayn Rand's Howard Roark, his orange hair and extremist ideals happened to me when I was at that age when everything is black and white and the only characters that capture your imagination are the impractical ones. The ones that don't exist in this dimension. I was waiting to be inspired and Roark certainly did that. I probably even looked for someone like him among my friends and men I dated. I think I may have married a certain likeness. Minus the orange hair though. Minus most of his hair actually. Ah well ...

3. A favorite uncle gifted me the complete works of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle on my 13th birthday. I started reading the night of my birthday party, and had to be physically separated from that big, fat volume a few days later. I tried to convince my parents to buy me a magnifying glass and a beret but they wouldn't work without Sherlock Holmes' acquiline nose and I didn't have enough pocket money for a nose job. That was that. But a more interesting, brilliant, sardonic, perfectly imperfect cocaine habit sporting fictional detective I have yet to find. Though I love Sue Grafton's Kinsey Milhone almost as much.

4. Crime novels have always been a favorite and I'm really sorry Agatha Christie died - but she left me Hercule Poirot. He's smart, humane and has any number of obsessive, compulsive disorders. But I started eating chocolates because he loves them so much and in my book - no tall, dark, handsome man can compete with his short, egg shaped head and magnificent moustaches. Plus he's the perfect gentleman and takes the law into his own perfectly manicured hands when it involves a woman who he thinks is noble. Even if she did commit murder.

5. Margaret Schlegel from E.M. Forster's Howard's End. As I grow older, I find myself embodying traits I found in her. A lot of women of a certain age will identify with her rooted to the earth practical nature, her dreams, wisdom, her refusal to accept human nature at face value - I'm sure will strike a chord. I've read the book thrice and each time has been a joy.

6. For sheer intensity, nobody can beat Emily Bronte's Heathcliff of Wuthering Heights. I guess his effect on all young girls who read him was the same. At my age, he now qualifies as an abusive, self-centered, over emotional excuse for a man, but back when I didn't know any better, that sort of "take what you want" man had a certain dangerous charm. Gosh, an objective review of Heathcliff! I am definitely old!

7. Iris Griffen from Margaret Atwood's "Blind Assassin". She had that unattainable style and ultimate nobility that made her unforgettable for me.

8. Lord Emsworth from Blanding's Castle. Why don't they make people like that anymore? Delightfully British and hilarious - this Lord of the manor is my favorite Wodehouse character of all time. I know Jeeves is a universal favorite, but ... well ... I always found him to be kind of sly. Lord Emsworth and his prize pig Empress have saved me from the blues more times than I can remember - er ... corny, but true :)

9. Estha from God of Small Things. Arundathi Roy was right when she said that she would write just that one novel. She couldn't possible top that anyway - when you squeeze your entire soul into one story, whats left to give? Esthappan's character touched me in ways that cannot be described. So I won't try.

10. Maneck from Rohinton Mistry's Fine Balance. Actually even Dina, Om and his nephew (can't remember his name). But Maneck left an indelible impression for his grit, struggle, the slow and shocking coming of age in an India that most of us never experience and his final defeat made me go all silent for awhile after I put down the book.

So this post is done and its already Saturday morning. Between looking after the kids and doing only a million other things, couldn't post this yesterday. But Prats, thanks for this. Enjoyed myself! :)

9 comments:

Prats said...

Wow!!!
You've done a greater job out here!!! And yes, great value for all these books.

I love Fine Balance and Roy's too...and many of the others...but some I haven't read :((

Now I guess I know what I should be picking up..

Thanks for taking this tag up and doing it so well

Tys on Ice said...

:) ...iam still beaming... :)

Suma said...

wow!!!
i can't believe this...i was gifted too, the arthur conandoyle volume and i just loved everything about baker street...and jane eyre and hercule poirot was an absolute fav too..

and yes, heathcliff, wasn't he dangerously attractive?


havn't read Ayn Rand...have been meaning to...

i like this list...have so much in common here...

keep smiling

rajk said...

Hi....I'm glad you found the time for this. Wasn't Ishwar one of the characters (tailor) in A Fine Balance? I think he was the uncle..

Gazal said...

hey ...a post after a long time

you jolted my rusty mind...i love some of these characters too...

btw i have to do this tag too!!opps

hmmm love's in the air!!!

--xh-- said...

wow.. Roark, Holmes, Lord Emsworth and Empress... some of my fav too...
nice to read abt ur fav literary characters :)

WannabeWriter said...

Hi...came here from Tys's...nice to meet you :D And was thrilled to see so many of my favourite characters in your tag...Once upon a time I was in love with Roark and Heathcliff too...and Mr. Darcy! And I still can't resist an Agatha Christie...recently bought a 12 DVD Miss Marple BBC Series...and Lord Emsworth and Galahad are inimitable!!!

Ziah said...

Hey! Nice list:)

Brought a ear to ear grin after a satisfying morning as amma's puttu kadala apprentice:)

Sherlock and Poirot are my favourites too :)Though, personally, I'd pick Galt over Roark anyday:) Maybe, just maybe, thats why the spouse is as close as it gets to Galt!!! :)

AnotherSuccinctCommentaryAboutOurMortalPredestinedExistenceDenterminedByU.S. said...

What's your address again in the hereafter, dear?? Mine's Seventh-Heaven, 11 Golden Ave ...HintHint


Thats Me! Says V from Jap Talk :-)