Sunday, February 19, 2012

Quirky Characters - part two

~Please see yesterday's post for part one Quirky Characters

First time novelist Elizabeth Kelly has written a wickedly wacky book Apologize, Apologize!: a novel about the family that puts the personality in disorder (M).

The subtitle says it all. The wealthy Flanagan family includes alcoholics, Marxists, playboys, pigeon racers and media barons. The only " sane" family member is Collie (named after the dog breed) and he is considered a disappointment to the rest of the family. His mother actually tells him that she does not love him and prefers his younger brother Bingo. His grandfather does love Collie but has an odd way of showing it. Collie has to learn to grow up and also to accept his family, something we all should learn to achieve.

There are authors who keep to one genre all their lives and then there are those who might write in two different ones. Rodney William Whitaker not only wrote in a number of different genres, he used different pen names for each of them. He was known as Nicholas Seare, Benat Le Cagor, Edoard Moran and his most successful pen name, Trevanian. Whitaker kept his true identity secret for years. He refused to give interviews or contribute to publicity efforts of his publishers. He finally granted an interview to the New York Times in 1979 stating "Trevanian is going out of business. Now he can talk". In an 1998 interview with Newsweek, Whitaker stated that with each new book, he decides which author should tell the story. Between 1972 to 1983, five of his novels sold more than a million copies each. He has been described as the only writer of airport paperbacks to be compared to Zola, Ian Fleming, Poe and Chaucer.

The Crazyladies of Pearl Street (M) was published under the author name of Trevanian. Published as a novel, many readers describe it as autobiographical. In November 2005, it was chosen as one of eleven Editors’ Choice books by the Historical Novel society. The story is the coming of age tale of Jean-Luc LaPointe, a boy living in the slums of Albany, N.Y. with his mother and sisters. The story takes place between 1935 to 1945. As I like to describe the area I live in, Jean Luc’s neighbourhood is full of character and characters! Jean-Luc is surrounded by "the Crazy Ladies" of his street and each of them in their own way influence him and I believe they will leave an impression on the reader as well.

I am sure that there are many other novels out there that could be nominated for this quirky subject. I would be interested in who you would list?

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