Top 10: Schemers and Opportunists
Fictional characters we love to hate.
- A Ladder to the Sky (2018) John Boyne. Beautiful wannabe, Maurice Swift, exploits all as he climbs to literary glory.
- Nana (1867) Emile Zola. Courtesan Nana’s stellar rise in Parisian society, and the rotten stink of corruption as her downfall.
- 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.
- The Wolf Hall Trilogy (2020) Hilary Mantel. The rise and fall of arch-strategist and bully, Thomas Cromwell.
- Les Liaisons Dangereuses (1782) Pierre Choderlos de Laclos. The Vicomte de Valmont and the Marquise de Merteuil hatch a plot of seduction and ruin.
- Notes on a Scandal (2003) Zoe Heller. Infatuated by a new colleague, lonely schoolteacher Barbara makes herself indispensable to the younger woman.
- The Robber Bride (1993) Margaret Attwood. Three women bond over their shared dread of maneater Zenia.
- 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.
- 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.
- Laughter in the Dark (1932) Vladimir Nabokov. A middle-aged man abandons his wife and daughter for a young starlet.