Fiction past and present

Sir Walter Scott's 'Kidnapped' is an amazing read; a real object lesson for the modern novelist or TV producer or film-maker.

Kidnapped's narrator, the lowland, anti-Jacobite David Balfour is your classic hero, an upright young man cast upon troubled waters (at one point literally). By contrast his friend in times of trouble, the bloodthirsty Jacobite outlaw Alan Breck is your classic anti-hero. But neither of these opposites behaves always in black and white. David can be less than gentlemanly. Alan can display unexpected tenderness. In other words these are real human beings, not the cardboard cutouts as per 99% of fictional characters these days.

How good it would be for Inspector whatever his name is completely fail to solve a particularly nasty Midsomer Murder, or find his lovely lady wife at home in bed with his station sergeant. Or perhaps a tearful Hannibal Lecter should just now and then take time out to repent his sins in the confessional.

However there's one aspect of Kidnapped which is completely aligned with modern fiction. David's struggles to extricate himself from an unjust adversity only result in a deepening of the mire and even greater injustice until, with one mighty bound ... and they all live happily ever after (except that really nasty uncle of David's!) Only around half of my twenty stories in just published Twenty Bites end that way, I'm pleased to report.

1 comment:

  1. Oh Er Bryan

    Was Kidnapped not written by RLS?

    Your M & S


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