Top 10: Schemers and Opportunists

Fictional characters we love to hate.

  1. A Ladder to the Sky (2018) John Boyne. Beautiful wannabe, Maurice Swift, exploits all as he climbs to literary glory.
  2. Nana (1867) Emile Zola. Courtesan Nana’s stellar rise in Parisian society, and the rotten stink of corruption as her downfall.
  3. Gillespie & I (2011) Jane Harris. It is 1888 when Harriet Baxter’s chance encounter with Glasgow artist Ned Gillespie leads to her becoming a fixture in the life of his family. When tragedy strikes and a notorious criminal trial ensues, nobody escapes unscathed.
  4. The Wolf Hall Trilogy (2020) Hilary Mantel. The rise and fall of arch-strategist and bully, Thomas Cromwell.
  5. Les Liaisons Dangereuses (1782) Pierre Choderlos de Laclos. The Vicomte de Valmont and the Marquise de Merteuil hatch a plot of seduction and ruin. 
  6. Notes on a Scandal (2003) Zoe Heller. Infatuated by a new colleague, lonely schoolteacher Barbara makes herself indispensable to the younger woman.
  7. The Robber Bride (1993) Margaret Attwood. Three women bond over their shared dread of maneater Zenia.
  8. The Talented Mr Ripley (1955) Patricia Highsmith. Tom Ripley grabs at a chance to start over. Then, having attained the good life, he’ll do anything to keep it.
  9. Gone Girl (2013) Gillian Flynne. Nick’s wife has disappeared, and the police suspect him of foul play. But there are two sides to every story.
  10. Laughter in the Dark (1932) Vladimir Nabokov. A middle-aged man abandons his wife and daughter for a young starlet.

If you liked this literary list, see here for more Lit Lists and book reviews.

Love reading? Want to meet like-minded people? Pop along to the Burton Book Club for novel chat.

Love reading? Want to meet like-minded people? Pop along to the Burton Book Club for novel chat.


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