The Top 10: Stories Retold from the Point of View of a Minor Character

Familiar tales through fresh eyes

John Rentoul
Friday 08 April 2022 15:30
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<p>From ‘Maleficent’ to the ‘Wide Sargasso Sea’, explore the top 10  stories retold by a minor character</p>

From ‘Maleficent’ to the ‘Wide Sargasso Sea’, explore the top 10 stories retold by a minor character

Thanks to Richard Morris for this one.

1. The Sea and the Mirror, W H Auden, 1944. Long poem in which minor characters in The Tempest reflect on the events of the play. Nominated by Sonia Nolten.

2. Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead, Tom Stoppard, 1966. More Shakespeare. “Hamlet from the viewpoint of the clueless twosome.” One of Richard Morris’s originals, also nominated by Charles Arthur and Daniel Howard.

3. Wide Sargasso Sea, Jean Rhys, 1966. Prequel to (so not quite “retold”) Jane Eyre, told by Mr Rochester’s wife, the “madwoman in the attic”. Nominated by Sonia Nolten, Ann Howarth, Emzles and Alastair Meeks.

4. Wild Wood, Jan Needle, 1981. Wind in the Willows from the perspective of the weasels and stoats. Nominated by Ed Wilson.

5. Wicked, novel by Gregory Maguire, 1995, and musical, 2003. The Wonderful Wizard of Oz retold by the witches. From Richard Morris.

6. Ender’s Shadow, Orson Scott Card, 1999. A sequel to his earlier Ender’s Game, retelling the science fiction war story from the viewpoint of Bean, a minor character. Thanks to Arieh Kovler and James of Nazareth.

7. The Meursault Investigation (Meursault, Contre-Enquête), Kamel Daoud, 2013. Retells The Stranger by Albert Camus from the perspective of the family of the faceless Arab, who was killed by the protagonist. Thanks to Arjun Neil Alim.

8. Maleficent, 2014. Sleeping Beauty, retold by the wicked fairy. Another of Richard Morris’s.

9. From a Certain Point of View, 2017. Anthology of Star Wars stories told from the perspective of background characters. Thanks to Cafc4ever1.

10. The Silence of the Girls, Pat Barker, 2018. “It is amazing and retells the Iliad from the point of view of Briseis, who despite being the object of the argument that animates the original poem, speaks only once in it,” said John Blake.

There is always one, and this week it is Richard K, who nominated all the Gospels. We have a winner.

Next week: Political rows that seemed huge at the time but now seem oddly quaint, such as the pasty tax (thanks to Matt Chorley).

Coming soon: Fake deaths, inspired by the TV drama about John Darwin, mis-titled The Thief, His Wife and the Canoe (it was a kayak).

Your suggestions please, and ideas for future Top 10s, to me on Twitter, or by email to top10@independent.co.uk

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