Monday, May 26, 2014

Literature's new bad girls

This is an age of man-chasing, full-blooded heroines in the same vein as Lena Dunham's Girlsl

Zoe Pilger
Zoe Pilger, author of Eat My Heart Out, one of a new breed of novelists whose female protagonists don't hold back. Photograph: Katherine Rose

Bad Girls are the new It Girls in the world of books. As if to confirm the cultural shift that has seen us wave goodbye to man-chasing heroines like Carrie Bradshaw and Bridget Jones to embrace more complex, true-to-life creatures such as the characters in Lena Dunham's Girls, a batch of novels out this Spring are full of women behaving badly. Take Zoe Pilger's rambunctious debut, featuring wild child Ann-Marie, who races around London aiming to get as blind drunk as possible, while having lots of sex, in search of the meaning of life. Or Helen Walsh's The Lemon Grove, introducing middle-aged Jenn, who spends her summer holiday lusting after her stepdaughter's teenage boyfriend. Now this month, Emma-Jane Unsworth's second novel, Animals – described by Caitlin Moran as "the lady Withnail & I" – arrived in bookshops, a litany of nights out gone wrong and disastrous sexual encounters.

In July, Moran's semi-autobiographical novel How to Build a Girl will hit the shelves. Just how bad will her reportedly "gobby" teenage central character have to be to outdo the literary anti-heroines we have met so far this year? We've rated each of them for their transgressive qualities

No comments: