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Saturday, 8 December 2012

Which characters from novels would you like to have dinner with?

Today’s post was prompted when reading a selection of book reviews this afternoon about the book ‘Random Harvest’, which is one of my all time favorite stories. As I read, I was amazed at the different thoughts people had about the book and its characters, and it emphasized for me the subjective nature of reading. I have always been inspired by the main female character, Paula, but was surprised to read of others who didn’t like her character at all. I have always thought she is someone I would have liked to meet in real life if she really existed to learn more about her and hopefully discover something of the origins of her strength of character.
The world of fiction is full of wonderful characters that draw us in with their complexities, and I began thinking of some of my other favorites. I came up with a short list of four I would like to have dinner with if it were possible, and have listed them below. Who are some of the characters you would like to have dinner with and why?

1. Paula Ridgeway - ‘Random Harvest’
I admire her persevering love - being prepared to live as a stranger with her former husband who has amnesia and doesn’t remember her from their earlier life together. Yes, the plot is probably far fetched, but the story has something powerful to say about the nature of love. I’d want to talk to Paula about where her strength came from.

2. Sydney Carton - ‘A Tale of Two Cities’
Trapped emotionally by a love that isn’t reciprocated, Sydney is often drunk and coarse. At the end of the story, his character performs the ultimate act of sacrifice. I want to know whether he did it because it provided an easy way out for himself, or whether it was truly done for Lucie, the object of his unrequited love. It’s pure guesswork for the reader, I think.

3. Belle Watling - ‘Gone With the Wind’
I’d like to know more about her life - in other words the backstory to her presence in Gone With the Wind.

4. Violette Szabo - ‘Carve Her Name With Pride’
I would like to meet anyone such as Violette who would willingly give themselves over to torture rather than betray their friends and comrades in war. I don’t think many people would be able to withstand such treatment without yielding. I wouldn’t have any questions for her. I’d be completely in awe of her.


  1. Weird how the secondary characters seem a lot more intriguing in books - perhaps the main characters motivation & development is more likely to be explained!! So in addition to all the ones you've listed, I'd choose some secondary detective characters and sidekicks of Dr Watson's ilk!

  2. Interesting observation. Does it say something about the reader or the character when the secondary characters seem to be more intriguing? A topic for another blog post sometime I think.