Recently someone who was a little way through my book said; ‘It’s good, but she (Esther) is so selfish! I don’t like her at all.’ I agreed, and said that it’s true, she was not your most noble or exemplary character. Beautiful, yes, as the portrait shows, but vain and mischievous as well.
This got me thinking: Can we writers still attract readers if the main character is not admirable, as in most of the great Victorian novels? I wanted to portray Esther (Assia) truthfully, as she was, with all her flaws, insecurities, and failures.
Yet when this reader finished the book, I received a quite different review:
I enjoyed your book and learned a lot. I have read the poetry of Sylvia Plath and Ted Hughes, but knew only that there was ‘another woman’ (or women). You have certainly achieved beautifully, and in an unbiased way, a tribute to Assia. You bring out the moral and social standards of the era with all three characters. I found the writing clear, fluent and articulate. It shows the impact of mental illness on the characters, and the unpredictability (capriciousness) of life. I have a feeling this book will be very well received. It is a great read. Eunice Condon, November 2018
I’ve received some other wonderful reviews from readers who’ve actually read my book, and who shared their insights with me, and are happy for me to reproduce them here>
I think this is a fine evocation with barely a false note. I was fascinated by this work and its crisp style.’ –Thomas Keneally, celebrated author of ‘Schindler’s Ark’, 2017
A truly brilliant, riveting book. I could not put it down. I found the writing style very effective and the content described incredibly real situations. It had the ability to make you feel sympathetic and appreciative of the people portrayed. – Barbara Steinberg, Melb. 2018
Each chapter left me unable to sleep! The narrative was very emotive for me…and surely that is the sign of a good writer if they can arouse such emotions, good or bad, in the reader. All the best with this and any future works. –Tony Duvollet, Mt Isa, Qld. 2018’
I just finished Capriccio and it was absolutely incredible. My favourite character was Rivke, and I also loved Tony, but all of the characters were beautifully written. Congratulations on creating such a masterpiece. – Bella Walsh, 2018
I have read ‘Capriccio’ and thoroughly enjoyed it, as I expected I would after reading excerpts and other writing of yours. Originally my sympathies lay with the wife, ‘Grace’ (Sylvia) but you skilfully portrayed ‘Esther’ (Assia) in such a way that I sympathised with her in her plight. Best wishes Dina. Looking forward to reading your next novel. – Glenda McPhee, 2018
I am so grateful for the generosity, insights, encouragement, and goodwill of all these reviewers. Perhaps they are an answer to my initial question: Do you have to love the main character to enjoy the novel? What do you think, dear Followers? All comments welcome!