Friday, February 18, 2011

On character names

For authors, this is not an easy business. 'Names are important. There is a big difference between a Bruce and a Guido, a Penelope and a Latoyah. A name can set the tone. Some handles are so ridiculous that they are instantly unforgettable, such as Humbert Humbert, the slippery protagonist of Lolita, or Ignatius J Reilly from A Confederacy Of Dunces. Nineteen Eighty-Four's Winston Smith combines a flash of individuality with a surname that suits his everyman status, while Bret Easton Ellis's works are full of characters whose one-syllable names are as slick and shallow as their lives – Clay, Rip, Spin and so forth. Then there are those as iconic as the book titles themselves: Atticus Finch, Kilgore Trout, Holden Caulfield.' More...

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