"Unhinged" and complex female literary characters (e.g. Mrs Danvers) - who else will I like?

(31 Posts)
JohnSnowsTie Sat 22-Feb-14 13:16:58

So I've noticed a theme in the sort of literary female character I enjoy reading about. Examples are Mrs Danvers, Miss Havisham, Lady Dedlock, the Woman in Black...

Who else/what other works will I enjoy based on this?

The Ninth Life of Louis Drax by Liz Jensen

Misery by Stephen King

The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins

Jane Eyre

AnneWentworth Sat 22-Feb-14 16:02:42

Hmmm, I think Madame Bovary (friggin love Emma Bovary) and Anna Karenina.

CheeseStrawWars Sat 22-Feb-14 16:04:07

Notes On A Scandal by Zoe Heller

Mefisto Sat 22-Feb-14 16:06:05

Henry James- Turn of the Screw?

ancientbuchanan Sat 22-Feb-14 16:16:27

Bertram Mason in The Wide Sargasso Sea, once you have read Jane Eyre.

The awful woman in Little Dorrit ( is it) who influenced TattyCoram.

The awful Mrs Clennam in Little Dorrit

The awful woman in David Copperfield ( is it) who is in love with Steerforth

Becky Sharp in Vanity Fair

Rachel in My Cousin Rachel

Lady Macbeth in Macbeth

Grendel's mother in Beowolf

The Green Knight's wife in Gawain and the Green Knight ( trans Simon Armitage)

All the women in the later parts of The Once and Future King apart from the stupid Guinevere.

Miss Brodie in the Prime of Miss Jean Brodie.

ancientbuchanan Sat 22-Feb-14 16:17:04

Bertha not Bertram. Bleep phone.

JohnSnowsTie Sat 22-Feb-14 16:39:42

Thanks all - I look forward to getting through all of these. Have read Notes on a Scandal, Macbeth and Jane Eyre but will give all the others a go.

Remus you have just reminded me that I have TWIW on my iPod as yet I listened to - will crack on with that on my way home, so thanks to you.

TheLightPassenger Sat 22-Feb-14 18:30:40

On a less highbrow note, Gone Girl, Dare Me by Megane Abbott, or The Silent Wife

CoteDAzur Mon 24-Feb-14 20:02:32

Nobody has yet mentioned Lisbeth Salander of The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo?

Unhinged - check.

Complex - check.

I've just finished the 13th Tale. Full of interesting/unhinged female characters. I loved it.

ZeroSomeGameThingy Mon 24-Feb-14 21:02:07

Therese Raquin!

TheBookofRuth Mon 24-Feb-14 21:15:19

You must've read Wuthering Heights, surely? Cathy is the dictionary definition of "unhinged female".

Forever Amber? I loved it, and the ending actually made me shout "nooooo I want to know What Happened Next!" grin
It's not so much that she's unhinged (well, maybe a little lust crazed for The One) but she is compelling and I found I just had to find out what happened next, and next, and next...
Rose Madder by King is good too, I always wondered just HOW he got so well inside the head of an abused wife the way he did. Again, it's not that Rose herself is unhinged, it's that she finally realises that she will do anything to escape her abusive husband and be with the man she loves and who loves her, even if it means - well, not to post a spoiler, but Rose decides what's best for her new man and herself, and he gets no say in the end.
Game of Thrones is a mega-epic read - the series is packed with mad people, and the power crazed and has just too many characters to list, both male and female. It's a massive read, even just the "story so far" but is ever so interesting, and action-packed to say the least!

nettlefairy Tue 25-Feb-14 07:56:17

you have to read Layla by Nina de la Mer - REALLY interesting and complex female character. I've just bought it (think it's just been published) and can't put it down. She's a lap dancer working in London and is also a mum. Thought provoking

SpookedMackerel Tue 25-Feb-14 08:05:09

You might like Her Fearful Symmetry, by Audrey Niffeneger (disclaimer - I didn't really like it myself).

Thehoardernextdoor Tue 25-Feb-14 08:07:12

I enjoyed Gillespie and I (I think it's by Jane Harris)

OneHolyCow Tue 25-Feb-14 10:56:44

The woman upstairs by Claire Messud is pretty unhinged.

TheNunsOfGavarone Tue 25-Feb-14 11:07:48

Great Granny Webster by Caroline Blackwood; a short, haunting novella about an unhinged Anglo-Irish family and their leaky, crumbling and comfortless country house.

JohnSnowsTie Fri 07-Mar-14 20:42:46

Thanks everyone - loads to be going on here.

One as it happens I was already reading The Woman Upstairs when I first posted!

SarahAndFuck Fri 07-Mar-14 21:36:18

A Kind of Intimacy by Jenn Ashworth.

Unhinged and wonderful, it's one of my favourite books. It's about a woman called Annie who moves to a new house and becomes obsessed by one of the neighbours.

How about Ursula in The Rainbow & Women in Love by D H Lawrence?

Ruth from Life and Loves of a She Devil

LumpySpacePrincessOhMyGlob Sat 08-Mar-14 20:28:33

The Lollipop Shoes, that has a superb unhinged female also Gentlemen and Players.

UnknownGnome Sat 15-Mar-14 10:32:28

I've just finished reading Nearest Thing to Crazy by Elizabeth Forbes (I think). Very good. Definitely some un-hingedness in there!

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