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E Lockhart

About The Author

E LockhartE. Lockhart is the author of nine novels including We Were Liars, a New York Times bestseller and Zoella Book Club pick; The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks, a Michael L. Printz Award Honor Book, a finalist for the National Book Award and winner of the Cybils Award for Best Young Adult Novel; Fly on the Wall, Dramarama and the Ruby Oliver quartet. She co-authored How to be Bad with Lauren Myracle and Sarah Mlynowski. Visit her online at: emilylockhart.com or on Twitter: @elockhart.

Her new novel, Genuine Fraud, is a psychological thriller about a young woman whose diabolical smarts are her ticket into a charmed life. But how many times can someone reinvent themselves?

Below, exclusively for Foyles, E Lockhart celebrates the antihero in books and film and identifies some of her favourite antihero tales.

 

 

The Author At Foyles

I have always loved a good antihero story. 

There’s the kind where the protagonist does things that are morally compromised or suspect – but he/she/they are deep down a good person. Think Batman or Grosse Pointe Blank. There’s the kind where we see a famous villain’s story from his/her/their point of view, and all is explained. Think Wicked or Maleficent.  

Then there’s the kind that’s a tragic story of ideals corrupted, a story that shows us the failings we have as humans. Think Citizen Kane.

And then there’s the kind where the protagonist is just not a good person at all.  Think Lolita or Sweeney Todd.   

In any case, the antihero story makes the reader or viewer complicit. We find ourselves rooting for a protagonist with whom we don’t want to identify. The stories are powerful because they force us to acknowledge the darkness inside ourselves.

I’m being simplistic in my categories, of course. There are as many ways to tell an antihero story as there are ways to tell a hero’s journey.  My new book, Genuine Fraud, tells one backwards. I wanted to go deeper and deeper into an antihero’s past, in order to understand what shapes her. 

The thing about antihero tales? They’re usually stories of hetero white guys. Not always. But usually. Why?  Female characters, LGBTQ+ characters and characters of colour are often judged on likeability in a way that characters who represent the dominant culture are not.

You do see women antiheroes more in movies (Atomic Blonde), TV (Veep)  and comic books (Jessica Jones); antiheroes of colour, likewise (Empire, How to Get Away with Murder). Here’s hoping that novels catch up. There are some awesome and wide-ranging books to choose from though – reflected in my choices below. Here are some of my favourite antihero tales, of all types. You may hate the characters, but you will never, ever be bored.

 

Author Picks

Tar Baby
(Paperback)
Toni Morrison
 
A complicated, glamorous fashion-model heroine whose inner life is so dark I have never forgotten one particular scene, even though I read it many years ago. Morrison’s book is a love story and a tragedy.
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Richard Stark's Parker The Hunter
(Paperback)
Darwyn Cooke; Richard Stark; Darwyn...
 
Parker is a criminal on a mission of vengeance after a heist goes wrong. His headspace is tough to be in, and you get to be in the even uglier headspace of his antagonists as well — but this loner revenge story, which has been made into several films, is wonderfully stylized and fun to read.
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Wide Sargasso Sea
(Paperback)
Jean Rhys; Andrea Ashworth; Angela...
Jane Eyre’s antagonistic madwoman in the attic becomes the protagonist in Rhys' classic interrogation of colonialism and marriage.
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Boxers & Saints Boxed Set
(Multiple copy pack)
Gene Luen Yang
 
A graphic novel that looks at the Chinese Boxer Rebellion from two different sides. The hero of Boxer is a villain in Saints, and vice versa — and it’s a fascinating and entertaining look at how we are all the heroes of our own stories.
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Boy, Snow, Bird
(Paperback)
Helen Oyeyemi
 
A reinvention of Snow White from the perspective of the wicked stepmother. The heroine is prickly, resourceful and occasionally endearing, the kind of difficult heroine I love best. It’s gorgeously written with twists you won’t anticipate.
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The Remains of the Day: Faber Modern...
(Paperback)
Kazuo Ishiguro
 
Here we see the antihero as abettor, in the story (also made into an Oscar-winning film) of a butler whose devotion to his employer supersedes his sense of right and wrong.
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Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas ...
(Paperback)
Hunter S. Thompson
Super stylish, chemically altered Rauol and his attorney Dr Gonzo zip into Vegas to report on a motorcycle rally for a magazine and wreak total havoc while ingesting massive amounts of drugs. It’s a mind-bending ride with two lunatics you kinda love.
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The Talented Mr Ripley
(Paperback)
Patricia Highsmith
Highsmith’s tour-de-force of longing, ambition, friendship and identity, set mostly in Italy, forces you into complicity with a psychopath who nonetheless represents a huge part of what it is to be human.
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Perfume: The Story of a Murderer
(Paperback)
Patrick Suskind
 
A totally psycho ride, the story of an 18th-century serial killer and perfumer.
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The End Of Alice
(Paperback)
A. M. Homes
 
Deeply creepy story of a paedophile and murderer who becomes a strange sort of inspiration for a young woman who lusts after an underage boy. Not for the faint of heart, but a brave look at disturbed minds.
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Available Titles By This Author

We Were Liars
(Paperback)
E. Lockhart
 
 
£7.99
 

Past Events for this Author

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