Wednesday, October 09, 2013

What Man Does a Good Job Writing a Female Protagonist?

Few men attempt to suss women in their novels. Just how much do we understand about Daisy in THE GREAT GATSBY, for instance. Very little. The bomb-toting daughter in Roth's AMERICAN PASTORAL is largely a mystery to us. Many prominent writers have never written a fully fleshed out woman.

Stewart O'Nan does a fine job in EMILY, ALONE. Likewise Evan S. Connel does a fantastic job with MRS. BRIDGE.

How about some male crime writers that succeed here? Who writes women well?

20 comments:

Chad Eagleton said...

Greg Rucka.

Chad Eagleton said...

http://io9.com/5912366/why-i-write-strong-female-characters

Bill Reynolds said...

Eryk Pruitt when he writes about Melinda Kendall
http://pantheonmag.com/rather-a-nice-finish-eryk-pruitt/

pattinase (abbott) said...

Eryk Pruitt is a new name to me. Thanks for the sites, guys.

George said...

The writer who knew how to create consistently believable women characters was Thomas Hardy. My favorite woman character is Nicole in THE EXECUTIONER'S SONG by Norman Mailer. Henry James and Anthony Trollope were no slouches at creating wonderful characters, too.

Prashant C. Trikannad said...

I agree with George: Thomas Hardy, no doubt. Jack Higgins (British author Harry Patterson) creates some of the best secondary female characters who are almost always hopelessly in love with his idealistic heroes who promise nothing because they're "dead men walking," as he calls them.

Anonymous said...

Wilkie Collins & Elmore Leonard.

Chad Eagleton said...

Definitely check out Rucka though. His novels are just as extraordinary as his comics work.

John said...

Cornell Woolrich, Rufus King, Andrew York, Berkely Mather...

I can think of a lot.

pattinase (abbott) said...

The last were two of my favorites.

Yvette said...

Thomas Perry writing Jane Whitefield.

Alan Bradley writing Flavia de Luce.

Brian Busby said...

I think the master in this regard is Brian Moore with THe Lonely Passion of Judith Hearne, I Am Mary Dunne, The Doctor's Wife, The Temptation of Eileen Hughes, Cold Heaven and The Magician's Wife.

Yes, I'm again pushing Moore.

Cap'n Bob said...

Bill Pronzini. I was going to say Mickey Spillane but I thought better of it.

pattinase (abbott) said...

Yes, Brian Moore is the king. I haven't read THE MAGICIAN"S WIFE. Judith Hearne may be be one of the saddest stories ever.
Mickey Spillane, ha!

Margot Kinberg said...

Patti - You know, I like the way Martin Edwards writes his novels featuring Hannah Scarlett. Oh, and there's Adrian Hyland, who writes Emily Tempest's characters brilliantly.

Al Tucher said...

I agree on Rucka. I'm totally in love with Tara Chace.

pattinase (abbott) said...

And then there's Al Tucher.

Good Ol' Ant said...

I think this is a question that only a woman can answer. How can I, as a man, say that another man has written a believable female character?

Al Tucher said...

Aw shucks, Patti!

Todd Mason said...

Joanna Russ liked to note that No One was doing good female characters in fiction without a hell of a lot of work because we just didn't have a solid tradition for them in literature. She did praise some of John Varley's work, thus (though he's not except peripherally a cf writer).