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A four part BBC programme I haven t seen the programme but even without that I d recommend it over the book In the series Faulks travels to different locations and talks to authors and critics about the four themesgroups of characters also represented in the book heroes lovers snobs and villains In the book though all we get are basically brief summaries of some of the main characters that for Faulks represent those four types for example heroes Robinson Crusoe Sherlock Holmes lovers Mr Darcy Constance Chatterley snobs Emma Woodhouse Jeeves villains Fagin Ronald Merrick all in all seven characters per type The summaries are too short to provide much space for critical reflection For those books I d read I thought they didn t say anything for Faulks on Fiction Great British Characters and the Secret Life of the Novel by Sebastian Faulks 10 out of 10When a reader finds a writer that he or she loves it is only natural to try to read of the same author and this is what happened to the undersigned when he finished Birdsong by Sebastian Faulks excellent writer has a BBC series on fiction divided into episodes about The Lover The Villain The Hero The Snob which ou can find on the internet and the book in uestion here is in fact an adjunct if not an afterthought of the landmark television program For the undersigned the interesting amusing passages have related to the books he has enjoyed trying to keep the attention to a minimum when works that he intends to read where discussed since there seem to be together with valuable insight and creative insight some spoiler alertsfor instance Sebastian Faulks mentions the death of Anna Karenina although we could agree that anybody who has not et read the classic has about one chance in a million to be interested in Faulks on Fiction which is anyway meant for the or less avid reader keen to know what the creator makes of some of his best loved proseOn the subject of Tolstoy we do not get much except a mention in passing maybe two because this is Great British Characters even if the erudite Faulks refers to authors outside the once great empire and we understand that the present day reader would not engage with uintessential novels like War and Peace or Vanity Fair because they do not have the attention span do not wish to dedicate time to a long narrativeAlthough it is so interesting to find what an established bestselling author thinks about Great Characters and fiction in general and with that to be invited into the inner sanctum of the creator to learn how he or she writes in the pages about some personal experiences but the critics that exaggerate in their search for real life people that inspire fictional personages are wrong in thinking that everything has a correspondent in real life we can disagree with Sebastian FaulksFor instance I have heard either William Boyd or Kingsley Amis I tend to think it was the former speaking about the fact that the reader can find the writer on every page as a real person his real character is omnipresent not in those words evidently but there appears to be a major difference in opinions in the way that Faulks operates for he mentions the idea that es he would write about the sensation of taking a hot bath the rain drops falling from the skin but ultimately it is the reader s own sensation of nausea that she or he feels when reading about itIn the first few passages we find from Faulks on Fiction that the new tendency in literary criticism of insisting on biography is wrong in its excess and we have fun reading how the author was thought to be French about 105 and a woman when his Birdsong was published and how in meetings with the public those in the audience where disappointed to find he has not been in the war and many if not most where sure that he must have found papers that belong to someone else and he has just passed them as hisOne can feel that The Murder in the Rue Morgue has an innovative killer and we can mention it since the uestion of spoiler alert has been established it is missing in Great Characters the orangutan albeit Faulks feels it is rather idioticLucky Jim is a Magnus opus that the undersigned is in awe with and Jim Dixon has a chapter as one of the Great British Characters as the central figure in the masterpiece of Kingsley Amis the hero of Money another celebrated work by the acclaimed son Martin Amis is analyzed Another memorable figure is that of Becky Sharp the unlikely heroine of Vanity Fair a book that its author declares it has no hero a woman of unbelievable psychological strength of astounding vitality mesmerizing personality enviable grit uniue determination extraordinary bravery but with doubtful moral profile willing to cheat and lie self absorbed uninterested in her child unless there is a public to appreciate her ualities as a motheran unforgettable fascinating main character neverthelessFollowing the retelling of a cherished novel such as the unbelievable hilarious immensely rewarding Lucky Jim for this reader s take on it ou can go to one can rediscover the personages he loves and find the novelty of someone else s perspective exhilaratingSebastian Faulks compares the different styles of iconic father Kingsley Amis and apparently eually gifted son in spite of the fact that the undersigned has started reading Money he found it baffling and less engaging than the father s magnificent novels another chef d oeuvre is Ending Up Faulks on Fiction appears to have been much less successful with the reading public than the immensely popular Birdsong or Charlotte Gray mentioned in passing in the book in jest referring to the mentioned false assumption of readers that Faulks must have been parachuted on the continent in order to be able to write the book but it is to be expected for a work that is not literary criticism exactly but appeals to a smaller audience by definition nonetheless The master novelist on the art of writing and the style of some of the greatest novelists This is a celebration of the greatest characters to be created in British literature Faulks comes across as a fan I really enjoyed his thoughts on Jeeves and James Bond he has written homages as both Wodehouse and Fleming I didn t see the BBC series that this book supported but I wish I had Ahighly enjoyable book. St born into tragedy runs away to London with the naive hope for a brighter future In this classic Dickens graphically conjures up the capital's underworld full of prostitutes thieves and lost and homeless children The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins Marian and her sister Laura live a uiet life under their uncle's guardianship until Laura's marriage to Sir Percival Glyde a man of many secrets Can she be protected from a mysterious and potentially fatal plot.
Ustrate that theme in different way Heroes Lovers Snobs and Villains In each section of the book Faulks introduces us to seven characters that he considers to be good examples of the type and which he believes have had an influence on what makes Britain the country that it is today Faulks is attempting to get rid of the oft held idea that characters reflect the lives of their authors and has resolutely avoided that approach It seems to be one that he takes very personally no doubt because he suffers from readers refusing to believe that he wasn t really a woman airlifted into France to spy during the Second World War like his character Charlotte GreySome of Faulks choices are interesting perhaps for who he leaves out as much as who he puts in Mr Darcy makes the list but Elizabeth Bennett doesn t and take a guess to which category Darcy gets assigned A sure cert for Snob I was thinking but nope he s a Lover We can probably blame Mr D for every Mills and Boon darkly brooding stroppy hero ever written Where would ou put James Bond I m guessing most of us would put him into the Hero category but Faulks assigns him to Snobs on the basis of his obsession with brands That s a very interesting approach a bit of Bond as Chav and few contemporary writers know Bond better than Faulks so I m than willing to see his point of viewI consider myself pretty well read but I only recognised seventeen of the twenty eight characters featured by their names even though I d read many of the books whose characters names I d forgotten Barbara Covett Chanu Ahmed Nick Guest Maurice Bendrix how many of those names can And a Bottle of Rum you instantly assign to their host books It s actually not easy sometimes to identify uickly which book some of the characters come from I had to read three pages to identify the book from which one of the lovers was taken Perhaps that might be taking the separation of author and character just a wee bit too farThere aren t many women characters or too many female writers but then that s perhaps not unusual whenou consider the wide historic scope that Faulks has covered Only one woman character makes the Hero list three make the Lovers list two get onto the Snobs and a single woman is represented amongst the Villains Some very recent books make the list Notes on a Scandal by Zoe Heller Brick Lane by Monica Ali and The Line of Beauty by Alan Hollingworth and all are very much of the Booker Shortlist genreThe level of detail into which Faulks goes varies a lot between characters Some characters get very deep analysis and for the characters from many of the older books he seems to feel the need to offer a very extensive synopsis of the stories in which they appear whilst some of the modern books appear with almost no plot synopsis at all and I felt that if I hadn t already read the books I really wouldn t have been any the wiser about the plots after reading those chapters Perhaps it s difficult to do analysis of characters who ve been done to death by centuries of literary criticism Whilst Mr Darcy clocks up 22 pages whilst Charles Pooter gets just 6 and Jean Brodie only 8 pagesSome of the chapters I enjoyed a lot others I was ambivalent about and a small number left me absolutely cold and disinterested I think the biggest problem I had was in just not knowing what the purpose of the book really was I was looking for a clear sense of the impact Faulks felt that each of the characters had on British society but I sometimes struggled to get to the nub of the message It s than possible that Faulks is just too darned clever for me I can t rule that out at allI totally got the separation of author and character but struggled to know what I was supposed to remember from some of the chapters I was resistant to the long plot summaries unclear about whether this was a dummies guide on how to bluff Crochet your knowledge of a novel atour next Book Group meeting What Faulks sometimes offers is not book reviews so much as book pr cis and I m not really sure for whom he s written this book If Playhouse you ve already read the books he features thenou ll probably think that what s offered is a handy brief reminder perhaps a chance to think again about our own perceptions of the books If ou haven t read the books then ou ll find too much plot on some of them and not enough on othersPerhaps it wasn t surprisingly that some of the modern books had critiues that I enjoyed than the older ones partly I believe because Faulks seemed to relax a little when writing these His choice of Chanu Ahmed from Brick Lane the heroine s much older husband was uite unusual although this working class immigrant intellectual snob fitted in with Faulks other Snob choices which mostly avoided the haughty gentry types in favour of the snobbery of the lower and middle classes We get manservant Jeeves the poor boy Pip with his Great Expectations school teacher Brodie and of course the controversial choice of James Bond It s almost as if ou can only be a Snob if Dannys Dragon (Tao of Love, you can t really justify looking downour nose at others Under villains I enjoyed the chapter on Barbara Covett the narrator of Notes on a Scandal although I m not sure she d have been someone I d have acknowledged as an obvious candidateIt s an interesting format and concept that sometimes works and sometimes misses by a mile If it is Household Gods your intention to write the next great literary fiction this collection of great character critiues is undoubtedly instructional though it might eually putou off ever putting pen to paper againI m not uite sure whether science becomes art or whether art can be disassembled into a series of uite deliberate and reproducible steps uite clearly we would all love to be talented but most of us are notIt is crushingly obvious the writers here are hugely talented Faulks shows us how the characters work and if each piece of observational brilliance on the part of the writer was as pre conceived as Faulks would appear to imply it robs my heart of it s n I really enjoyed listening to Faulks chatting about books I d read He s an unabashed fan of the character driven novel and this book traces how fictional characters have traced the evolution of the modern Briton This book that Sebastian Faulks himself would have preferred calling Novel People was published as a companion to. Ial history it also helped invent the British By focusing not on writers but on the people they gave us Faulks not only celebrates the recently neglected act of novelistic creation but shows how the most enduring fictional characters over the centuries have helped map the British psyche In this ebook Sebastian celebrates the greatest villains in fiction from Fagin to Barbara CovettAlso included are two classic novelsOliver Twist by Charles Dickens Oliver Twi.
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I found this companion interesting inspiring and informative since Sabastian Faulks an illustrious novelist himself I m sorry I haven t Maos Little Red Book yet read his famous Birdsong has portrayed different views regarding the four major characters that is Heroes Lovers Snobs and Vallains based on those twenty eight great British novels seven in each category In other words each character presumably deserves readers similar attention my motive is that I should read any character at random according to my familiarityTherefore I started with my first two favorites that is Winston Smith Heroes no 4 and Jean Brodie Snobs no 5 because I read Nineteen Eighty Four and The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie some 40ears ago Reading these two characters as seen by such an author with literary stature delighted me with his uniue ways of looking at each character s backgrounds contexts as well as any hidden agenda I hadn t perceived or realized before For instance I found this sentence rewarding Winston Smith is a new kind of hero one who loses p 79 because this implies any hero who loses can be a hero which is a new paradigm shift in that we tend to assume anyone who loses can t be a hero at all heshe simply is a loser for ever In other words such a loser can be a hero if heshe can persist keep going and do one s best for the good of those around himher the community and the nationMoreover I found this bitter Her tragedy is that she turns out not to be a leader in the ranks of an enlightened culture but the victim of self delusion and of forces she has not understood p 252 because this informs us why she Miss Jean Brodie can t be a leader and we re embittered by her possessing such self delusion One of the reasons is that she s grief stricken by the death of her fiance in Flanders and just imagine if we had to face a situation like that ourselvesIn short this character anthology is for those keen novel readers who long to know in depth viewsbackgrounds related to their readfamiliar ones I mean reading those unfamiliar ones is a bit tedious and I think futile since it s like reading them in the dark I somehow missed the TV series that accompanies the book but it s probably best to read about literary characters rather than watch a programme about them This made me want to reread some novels I haven t read for some time and read others I ve never got round to Great Expectations Raj uartet I was a little taken aback by Faulks reading of The Golden Notebook which I read in my early 20s and found moving and thought provoking I ve never dared reread it since and now I don t think I ever will Faulks makes what could have been rather arid material easy to read and informative Interesting ramble through the history of fiction in English made entertaining by being Faulks particular take on the novels and characters and interspersed with his own anecdotes Doesn t pretend to be comprehensive and divides characters into heroes villains lovers and snobs which in some cases is a bit arbitrary but provides the book with structure My list of books to r Having no doubt that Sebastian Faulks is better read intelligent and certainly better ualified than myself to comment on the novel I feel a tad reticent about holding forth but I shall I did enjoy this trawl through British novels ranging from the gargantuan and in my case severely unread Clarissa by Samuel Richardson to the gross and foul Money by Martin Amis Twenty eight novels by twenty six novelists are divided into seven books for the four themes of Hero Lover Villain and Snob It is a fascinating reflection though I suppose as is inevitable in a book which needs to be readable or at least holdable one has to restrict the number of works reflected upon Some of the novelists chosen or maybe to the point those not chosen surprised me and then the works chosen appeared to me a tad eccentric but then as Faulks himself says in his section on Sherlock Holmes making lists or choices are never going to be universally applaudedThe four themes were cleverly chosen though as I read I did wonder whether a linking theme to all four could not have been a fifth one of Victim In many of the novels chosen a glance at the work from the position of the one crushed or rejected or misunderstood would have opened out society s understanding of itself through the novelist s work in just as powerful a way if not so Again recognizing that is was Faulk s book and not mine I know it might appear churlish but it did aggravate me that he stated his opinions and ideas seemingly as universals So for example in his discussion of Vanity Fair which as a book I love Faulks insists on saying on a number of occasions how everyone roots for Becky Sharp and is rather dismissive of Amelia Sedley and Dobbin We all feel this he tells us this is a universalno Sebastian its not Not in this corner of the world anyway This might seem a small whinge and indeed it is an unimportant detail except it was repeated in other sections concerning other books This grated on me because whilst wanting to hear the opinions of a far wiser and articulate man I did not want to feel that my own opinions or ideas were of no conseuence unless they chimed perfectly with hisHaving said all that I did find the whole thing very interesting easy to read amusing and it did succeed in opening out aspects of novels I had not been aware of before It seems to me that there are at least two sides to Sebastian Faulks On one hand there s the genius writer of fantastic books like Birdsong and The Girl at the Lion d Or which are so convincing that he tells us that readers refuse to believe he just made them up On the other there s the slightly stuffy chap who appears on dull but worthy Radio 4 programmes like The Write Stuff surely a show designed for rather smug clever people to show off how clever they are to an audience of baffled listeners and looks like the sort of chap who probably has leather patches on his corduroy jackets When I was offered Faulks latest book I was excited because he writes such fantastic fiction but when I realised it was non fiction my spirits dipped a bit I probably should have given him creditFaulks on Fiction is a companion book for the BBC 2 series of the same name Each show covered one theme and gave seven literary characters that ill. The publication of Robinson Crusoe in London in 1719 marked the arrival of a revolutionary art form the novel British writers were prominent in shaping the new type of storytelling one which reflected the experiences of ordinary people with characters in whom readers could find not only an escape but a deeper understanding of their own livesBut the novel was than just a reflection of British life As Sebastian Faulks explains in this engaging literary and soc.
Sebastian Faulks was born in 1953 and grew up in Newbury the son of a judge and a repertory actress He attended Wellington College and studied at Emmanuel College Cambridge although he didn’t enjoy attending either institution Cambridge in the 70s was still uite male dominated and he says that you had to cycle about 5 miles to meet a girl He was the first literary editor of “The Independe