Top Ten Canadian Characters Who Are Characters

Still reasonably new to this book blogging thing, I like to rely on others for inspiration. Today, Leah’s post over at Books Speak Volumes took me over to Top Ten Tuesdays over at The Broke and the Bookish. This week’s topic is Top Ten Characters Who _______. As Tuesdays are supposed to be my days to blog, I can see this becoming a very useful meme. I decided to fill in the blank with not just my favourite characters, but those who are actual characters in the informal sense (an odd, eccentric or unusual person: he’s quite a character). I welcome you all to tell me about your top picks, Canadian or no, for characters who are characters.

So, my Top Ten Canadian Characters Who Are Characters are:

10. Taggle from Erin Bow’s Plain Kate. No, I’m not a crazy cat lady. I don’t even own cats. But, for some reason this character from Bow’s YA Fantasy just got to me. A truly cat-like perspective coming from a kitty with all the charm and eccentricity you’d want in a talking animal character.
9. Ambrose from Susin Nielsen’s Word Nerd.  For a young person to express his love of words, his courage, and maintain a lack of a judgmental bone in his body? That’s a character to me.
8. Mrs. Bentley from Sinclair Ross’ As for Me and My House. She was a lesson in who I didn’t want to be. Because of her, this books almost reads like a horror story of manipulation to me.
7. Rhun from Guy Gavriel Kay’s Tigana. The fascinating way this fool and his king are connected and his heartbreaking story just get to me every time.
6. Sara from L.M. Montgomery’s The Story Girl.  A girl who likes books (me) is drawn to books about quirky, storytelling characters. Is this a surprise to anyone, really?
5. The Narrator from Stephen Leacock’s Sunshine Sketches of a Little Town. His absurdist, yet welcoming tone just kept me wrapped up in these vignettes of the little town of Mariposa. This narrator and I have a special connection due to the fact that I was traveling via Greyhound through small towns in BC while I was reading his words.
4. Coyote from Thomas King’s Green Grass, Running Water. The award of 4th place should really be given to the grouping of Coyote, Ishmael, Lone Ranger, Hawkeye and Robinson Crusoe who adventure together in this novel. But let’s face it, Coyote is the most fun.
3. Christie from Margaret Laurence’s The Diviners. While Morag in this book is one of my favourite characters of all time, it’s really Christie who takes the cake as a character. With his stories, odd behaviour, big heart, and lack of care as to what anyone thinks of him, he’s one of the most memorable characters out there in the CanLit world.
2. Liesl from Robertson Davies’ Fifth Business. The first truly interesting and powerful female character I came into contact with in books. An unattractive, hyper intelligent, and violent woman, she remains one of the truly great characters in my mind and just barely lost out to the #1 spot.
1. And the number 1 character who is a character from Canadian Literature? Parlabane from Robertson Davies’ The Rebel Angels. Pretty much every character in this book should be on this list, but Parlabane is my favourite. His eccentricity, his combative nature, his public drunkenness, his manipulations, his intelligence, his raunchiness…seriously, what’s not to love?


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6 Responses to Top Ten Canadian Characters Who Are Characters

  1. I will grudgingly say your list is good. And you do have LM Montgomery listed. But no list of Canadian characters of any sort is complete without Anne of Green Gables. I’m willing to take you to the mat on this one. But glad to see Robertson Davies represented. I always feel like people have forgotten about him.

    • writereads says:

      Yeah, I know. I feel like Anne gets a lot of representing so I put Sara in instead, but I still feel a sense of chagrin and unease about it. So, you don’t have to take me to the mat. Anyway, I’m a wimp so you’d win, hands down.
      And, the CBC book group on goodreads is hosting a book club for Fifth Business in May, I’m going to join that one and re-read that book for the first time in …15 years, I think. I’m very much looking forward to it, I’m willing to bet it holds up.

      • Davies will definitely stand the test of time. I re-read the Cornish trilogy in grad school, which as a thousand years ago, and loved it even more. Someday, if you make it to Scotland or I make it to Edmonton, I will tell you about the time i stalked Davies around Toronto. Ah, youth!

      • writereads says:

        I completely understand the stalking of Davies and will look forward to hearing about it someday.

  2. writereads says:

    If Kirt may, Kirt would like to add a couple of names to this list:
    Shorty McAdoo from The Englishman’s Boy by Guy Vanderhaeghe
    Eli Stands Alone from Green Grass, Running Water by Thomas King
    Gordon Rankin from The Antagonist by Lynn Coady
    Eli Sisters from The Sisters Brothers by Patrick deWitt

    Kirt knows that he should be working on his own post and will now go and do so.

    • writereads says:

      I’m glad you put your two cents in, Kirtles. I was looking for that as you’ve read books I haven’t. Rank almost made it into mine as well, I just didn’t know if he was someone I would describe as a “character” or just one of my faves. Eli Stands Alone I cannot disagree with. I haven’t read The Englishman’s Boy and you know The Sisters Brothers is still on my list shame. – Tania

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