Tuesday, 20 April 2010

Professionally speaking...



Following on from the review yesterday, I was wondering: what's the weirdest or most unusual choice of profession you've come across as the focus of a novel? (I feel that could be much better phrased, but I can't think of anything at the moment.)

I think the strangest one I've read is in Edward Carey's Observatory Mansions, where the protagonist is one of those living statues, entirely covered in white.

Beat that, if you can!

14 comments:

  1. I don't think I could possibly top that one! :)

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  4. In Haruki Murakami's Kafka on the Shore, one of the main characters, Nakata, is a cat-finder. It's not exactly the focus of the novel, though.

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  5. This is actually really difficult, isn't it? For a while it seemed like every single novel I picked up had a teacher/lecturer/journalist or writer as a protoganist. Boring!

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  6. Wow, great topic! I don't think I can think of one off the top of my head either. Nothing quite so interesting as a human statue!! Although the book I'm reading at the moment (Beatrice and Virgil by Yann Martel) prominently features a taxidermist!

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  7. I think that 'a corpse beauty technician' might be the weirdest and that was in The Loved One by Evelyn Waugh. I am trying to think of more so may very well pop back now and again.

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  8. Not sure I can beat yours, but I recently read The Great Perhaps where one of the characters does research on the violence of pigeons!

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  9. Oh! Darn it, the title escapes me but what about nasty fellows who dig up bodies and sell them for dissection? Not exactly a legal profession but they do collect a fee!

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  10. Wasn't it in 'Our Mutual Friend' where a father and daughter trolled the Thames looking for suicides, then picked their pockets?

    That's the best I can come up with off-hand!

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  11. What about Kevin, the Nazi memorabilia collector, in Boxer, Beetle? Not quite his profession but with his condition he was hardly made for a job in an office.

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  12. I suspect you wanted "real" people and "real" professions. If, however, you are feeling generous, and unashamedly appealing to your stint as a Librarian, I will submit the Sub-Dean of Mistsifting, Seftus Leprix from The Curse of the Gloamglozer. Are you a "Librarian Knight"?

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  13. There's a "professional nose" in Patrick Suskind's _Perfume_.

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  14. That's hard to beat!
    The one that popped to mind is a hair-collector (he collects and sells hair for a living) in A Fine Balance which I just read recently. It's not the main focus of the book, but it fills up a good part of it.

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