9 Books With The Best Character Development
9 Books With The Best Character Development: One of the marks of a great book is its characters. When the characters are layered, complex and multidimensional, the book feels satisfying. Here is a list of books where the characters are fully fleshed out and developed with great care.
9 Books With The Best Character Development:
- Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy
- Palace of Illusions by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni
- Sea of Poppies by Amitav Ghosh
- Emma by Jane Austen
- Beauty and Sadness by Yasunari Kawabata
- Home and the World by Rabindranath Tagore
- Purple Hibiscus by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
- The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
- Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy
This book is basically a character portrait of Anna and Levin. And since the two characters serve as narrative foils to each other, the character development feels even more enhanced. Anna is a socialite with a seemingly perfect life, but feels trapped in her marriage and begins an affair with Count Vronsky. Levin is Tolstoy’s self portrait – a quiet, rural character who falls for Katarina. Tolstoy crafts both their characters with realism yet brilliance.
Palace of Illusions by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni
In this mythological fiction, Divakaruni paints the portrait of India’s grand epic Mahabharata, from the perspective of Draupadi. Because the story is seen from Draupadi’s lens, it becomes a great character study. Divakaruni portrays one of the most complex women in Indian mythology with exactitude. We empathize with her despite all her flaws and understand why she was who she was. Not once do we blame her for the fall of a dynasty.
Sea of Poppies by Amitav Ghosh
This story excels at both plot and character development. We follow a host of people as they board the grand ship ‘Ibis’ which sets sail towards China. The rest of the trilogy then follows the events that lead up to the Opium War. In this book, we follow Deeti, trapped in a marriage in Bihar and Zachary, a black man who later becomes the second mate for the ship ‘Ibis’. There’s also Paulette, the daughter of a French botanist in India and Neel, the former king of a province in Bengal. There is also a host of other characters. Despite the myriad of characters, Ghosh does an incredible job at providing them all with substantial depth.
Emma by Jane Austen
In this classic, the protagonist Emma is beautiful, rich and smart but also proud. She fancies herself as an expert matchmaker, though her illusion falls apart when the matches she makes turn out to be incompatible. Eventually, she realizes that the match she made for herself is also incorrect and the man she loves has been close to her all this while. Her character portrait with her hamartia of pride is flawless.
Beauty and Sadness by Yasunari Kawabata
In this lyrical book, Kawabata paints exquisite portraits of a man who returns to meet his ex-lover, who is now living with another woman. The two women are contrasts – the older artist is delicate and mellow while the younger apprentice is jealous, passionate and intense. Through the contrasts of their personalities, a beautiful story comes to life. The strength of this book is not just its language but also the characterization.
Home and the World by Rabindranath Tagore
This book is a love triangle between Bimala, her mellow husband and the conniving but passionate Sandip who comes to stay with them. Through the contrast between the husband Nikhil and Sandip, the plot weaves in the allegory to the nationalism movement. Sandip is greedy but charismatic and Nikhil is honest but blunt and not eloquent. However, at the end, Nikhil wins Bimala over, even though the end is tragic.
Purple Hibiscus by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
This book is about a young girl, Kambili whose father is abusive due to a skewed interpretation of religion. When she visits her relatively free thinking aunt, Kambili discovers a sudden change in the atmosphere and in herself. The characters of this book have been created with such mastery that we don’t hate even the abusive father. This book is worth reading not just because of the ideas it presents but the way Adichie develops her characters.
The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
In this great American classic, Nick Carraway narrates the story of Gatsby, a pompous yet very elusive and mysterious man. We follow the story as Gatsby meets his ex-girlfriend, Daisy, who is now married to a condescending man, Tom. Much of the book is dedicated to understanding what makes Gatsby so “great”. He is an enigma of sorts – and the book is a puzzle to deciphering him, one piece at a time.
Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
This book follows an orphan, Jane Eyre who finds employment as a governess at Thornfield Hall, the home of the mysterious Rochester. Over the course of their lives, Rochester and Jane fall irrevocably in love with each other. But Rochester is hiding a deep, dark secret within the walls of his home, and it threatens to spill out, on the eve of their wedding. With beautiful, engaging prose and a great character study, this book is one to be devoured.
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Also To Kill a Mockingbird.