Thursday, July 26, 2007

Fictional Villains

When I first thought about fictional villains, my reaction was that I don't really read books with villains. But then I thought of two very villainous characters who have featured in novels I've read recently:

Grenouille is the villain in Patrick Suskind's novel Perfume. He has no personal odour and a very well refined sense of smell. He naturally becomes a perfumier and then ventures into bottling the scents of beautiful women, murdering the women on the way. I really enjoyed the book in a creepy sort of way, I felt that Grenouille is a very well realised villain, the details make him a very distinctive character and the evil aspects of his nature are built up very effectively.

The central character in John Burnside's novel The Dumb House, is rarely referred to by name, but I think he may be called Luke? He is a nasty piece of work and his story is told in a chillingly rational style that I found so disturbing that I could barely read the book. This is effectiveness writ large but to detrimental effect for those of us of a sensitive disposition. Burnside is one of my favourite poets, he is a brilliant writer but this novel just gave me insights into a sick and twisted soul that i don't think I wanted to see.

Villains for Booking Through Thursday.

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