Thursday, June 30, 2016
Ken Follett - author of female characters with some Agency
I found myself with time to spare the other day. Even better I was 'downtown' - if you can call the staid Main street of Stoughton that word. Some say it is a cute place...but I digress. I went to the library. Considered Fosdal's, but I 'want' sugary sweet Norwegian stuff. I don't 'need' those things. Want is so much more fun than need. Again I digress. The librarian, not named Marian btw, showed me NoveList, an online book database that offers more metadata and labels and tags and search options than you can shake a stick at. Or a donut. Fosdal's has really good donuts. Novelist helped me discover Ken Follett. I was looking for other books on my main writing topic and he popped up. More importantly, the STO library had his work on their shelf. We do live in a time of instant gratification after all - right? I found him in the stacks. And have now read two of his books - Lie Down with Lions and JackDaws. My point - BOTH of these books offer strong women as main characters. Some of the strongest I have comes across so far in my reading life or at least my reading memory. Strong plot lines centering on the woman. To my eyes, each of these women are stand alone interesting characters, not strong ass kickers with breasts as is so often the case. Much more substance, by far, than the Bechdel test's 'can she be replaced with a lamp' test. Independent, stand alone, feminine. I am impressed with Ken Follett as an author who writes interesting characters that are women. Do these characters completely pass the Bechdel set of criteria? Not quite. Each character does have a love interest, BUT the emphasis is reversed. The men are the minor characters and BOTH WOMEN are the STRONG characters. Really quite refreshing and great to read. Lie Down with Lions offers a compelling setting and an interesting description of surroundings. Good stuff. A lead main character that is a woman is even better. imo, Ken Follett is well worth reading, especially Lie Down with Lions.