Some authors chose which literary characters they’d like to hang out with during summer.
Beach Buddies: Authors Pick Literary Partners for Fun, Sun
Sunday, June 14, 2009
We asked authors which book character they would like to accompany them for a day on the beach. Here’s what they said:
I’d spend the day with Mr. Darcy, from Jane Austen’s “Pride and Prejudice,” naturally. Is there any other man who broods so masterfully in literature and who could benefit more from a spirited, lighthearted game of beach Frisbee? And of course, since we’d be on a beach together, I’d greatly enjoy seeing what’s beneath that proper waistcoat of his.
John Wheelwright from “A Prayer For Owen Meany,” by John Irving. I was crushed when Owen Meany died and, short of bringing him back, would like to hear that John, his friend and emotional beneficiary, has given lasting meaning to Owen’s life. I wonder if the belief in God that Owen’s death inspired has helped John believe in himself as well. A day at the beach would give us time to talk about that, perhaps give us both closure.
Give me Stephen Maturin of Patrick O’Brian’s “Master and Commander.” Titularly a naval surgeon (ca. 1800), he’s also an intelligence agent and a natural philosopher with a mania for birds, fish, sloths, beetles and other fauna. We could have elevating conversations while turning over sea-wrack in search of sand fleas and nondescript copepods.
I should like to spend a day at the beach with Jake Barnes from “The Sun Also Rises” by Ernest Hemingway. Firstly, Jake is tremendously laid back and cool with an inner sorrow, which would be good for a day, though tedious for too long. He can fish and he loves Nature, so I think we would have a reflective session perhaps from a small boat and then a barbecue of grilled fish and chunky bread. He is a virtuoso drinker, so I anticipate some chilled white to start and a strong red for the later evening. He just can’t bring any of his dopey friends.
The cool ocean waters of Cape Cod’s Longnook Beach provide the perfect antidote to a scorching Alabama summer, so that’s where I take young Scout Finch from Harper Lee’s “To Kill a Mockingbird.” We descend the dune, ride the waves and then walk along the water’s edge, collecting shells and talking about our prospective eras: hers, in which a black man’s guilt was a foregone conclusion even with Atticus as his lawyer; and mine, in which a black family now lives in the White House but millions of black folks still live in our country’s prisons. We’ve come a way, Scout and I conclude, but have a way to go.
Who would you pick? I wouldn’t mind a summer romance with a dishy character.