In GOODBYE, COLUMBUS, by Philip Roth, there is a very minor character that has stayed with me for the forty plus years since I read it first. The protagonist has a job at the Newark Public Library and he notices a young black boy spending his summer days looking at art books. The boy confesses that it is Paul Gauguin he loves to look at. He can't imagine a place like Tahiti. Neil goes on to protect the boy from the other librarians who believe he will deface or steal the book. And it is that boy I remember today. Roth painted the boy so vividly, and also that library in Newark. I can picture him still paging through that book on an upper floor, dreaming about going to a place like Tahiti.
Is there a minor character in a book that you remember well?
HUNGER, Roxane Gay THE MARSH KING'S DAUGHTER, Karen Dionne LOVING DAY, Mat Johnson THE SECRETS SHE KEEPS, Michael Robotham HILLBILLY ELEGY, J.D. Vance SUNBURN, Laura Lippman
Patricia Abbott is the author of more than 125 stories that have appeared online, in print journals and in various anthologies. She is the author of two print novels CONCRETE ANGEL (2015) and SHOT IN DETROIT (2016)(Polis Books). CONCRETE ANGEL was nominated for an Anthony and Macavity Award in 2016. SHOT IN DETROIT was nominated for an Edgar Award and an Anthony Award in 2017. A collection of her stories I BRING SORROW AND OTHER STORIES OF TRANSGRESSION will appear in 2018.