Visions of a Freeman - Brain
Age - 03, December of 2015
An ancient view over
Reality seen from the Eyes of a TRIBalance.
"Revenge is sweet", for all
Natasha Carthew’s top 10 revenge reads
Revenge is sweet...especially when it’s experienced through the
pages of gripping read. Natasha Carthew picks her favourites,
from Moby Dick and the Count of Monte Christo to Mockingjay and
Icy revenge: Tilda Swinton as the White Witch in the 2005 film
adaptation of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. Photograph:
Thursday 26 November 2015 13.31 GMT
As a YA writer and avid reader I know that I am not alone in my
obsession with revenge-based dramas. Ancient Greek myths and
Biblical stories understood that the most direct route to
justice often requires travelling along the bumpy roads of
revenge. In every era in human history, artists have reflected
the moral urgency of vengeance, from the high art of Elizabethan
and Jacobean drama to the lowbrow makers of heart-stopping
horror films. There’s nothing like watching a score being
settled and payback justly received.
1. True Grit by Charles Portis
The theme of justice and revenge is explored to great effect in
one of my favourite childhood adventure books of all time, True
Grit. Young, gritty, female protagonist Mattie Ross fully
expects that the local sheriff will bring her father’s murderer
to justice. When he refuses to give chase, Mattie must find
someone of sufficient true grit who will restore moral balance
by doing what’s just and necessary; ultimately it is she who
possesses this trait the greatest.
Throughout the course of the adventure in True Grit, the central
themes are obtaining justice, revenge, duty, and doing the right
thing. No matter what the motivation is for retribution and how
it is carried out, Portis shows there is a price to pay for
those determined to seek justice: it can change you, kill you,
do you in.
2. Heart-Shaped Bruise by Tanya Byrne
This is a gritty psychological thriller set in the psychiatric
unit of a young offenders institution. It’s a compelling, brutal
and heart-breaking story about identity, infamy and how far a
person might go to seek revenge.
3. The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by
The White Witch in The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe rules
through fear, terrifying her subjects and keeping order with her
spies and secret police. She is the embodiment of selfishness,
greed, and power. This classic children’s book asks questions of
truth and lying, love and hate, good and evil, and forgiveness
and revenge... It’s brilliant.
Gregory Peck in the 1950s film adaptation of Moby Dick.
Photograph: Allstar/Cinetext/WARNER BROS
4. Moby Dick by Herman Melville
The villain in Herman Melville’s ultimate story of revenge,
Moby-Dick, isn’t the monstrous white whale of the title, but the
monomaniacal quest of the man that wants to kill him: Captain
Ahab of the whaler Pequod, for revenge on Moby Dick, who had
previously destroyed Ahab’s ship and severed his leg at the
Moby-Dick is the story of an eerily compelling madman pursuing
an unholy war against a creature as vast and dangerous and
unknowable as the sea itself.
5. The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre
This, the most famous of revenge stories, it is an adventure
story primarily concerned with hope, justice, vengeance, mercy,
and forgiveness. The youthful Edmond Dantès is betrayed by a
small group of friends and framed for a crime he did not commit.
Sentenced to solitary confinement on the island prison of
Chateau d’If, he meets a fellow inmate named Faria who takes
Dantès under his wings. After spending 14 years locked away
under the harshest of conditions, Edmond Dantès escapes his
imprisonment and finds a lost treasure on the uninhabited isle
of Monte Cristo, a fortune that the now deceased Faria had
originally located. Armed with wealth beyond his imagination,
Dantès transforms himself into the Count of Monte Cristo and
returns to his native France to enact an elaborate plot against
those responsible for his incarceration. However, his plans have
devastating consequences for the innocent as well as the guilty.
Romance, loyalty, betrayal, and selfishness, are all shown
throughout the story as characters slowly reveal their true
6. Carrie by Stephen King
This is the chilling story of a girl out for revenge. The book
revolves around the “Carrie” White, a misfit and bullied high
school girl who uses her newly discovered telekinetic powers to
exact revenge on those who torment her, while in the process
causing one of the worst local disasters in history. Much of the
book is written using newspaper clippings, magazine articles,
letters, and excerpts from books to tell how Carrie destroyed
her fictional home town whilst exacting revenge on her sadistic
classmates. Not for the faint hearted!
7. Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte
Wuthering Heights may be more usually thought of as a romantic
novel but it revenge that leads the protagonists to their dismal
fate that captivates. Bronte shows there is no peace in eternal
vengeance and that, in the end, the self-injury involved in
serving revenge’s purposes will be more damaging than the
original wrong. Genius.
8. The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel
In The Scarlet Letter, Roger Chillingworth reaps revenge on
Arthur Dimmesdale for his affair with his wife, Hester Prynne.
As the novel progresses, Chillingworth fits the profile of
“vengeance destroys the avenger”.
Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss Everdeen, seeking revenge in The
Hunger Games: Mockingjay, part two. Photograph: Allstar/LIONSGATE
9. Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins
Katniss is out for revenge! She has only one thing on her mind,
to kill President Snow. Against all odds, Katniss Everdeen has
survived the Hunger Games twice. But now that she’s made it out
of the bloody arena alive, she’s still not safe. The Capitol is
angry. The Capitol also wants revenge...There’s nothing like
retaliation when both sides are in the game.
10. You Against Me by Jenny Downham
When Mickey’s sister accuses Ellie’s brother of date rape, he’s
out for revenge. Mickey crashes a welcome home party that
Ellie’s wealthy parents are hosting for their son, meets Ellie,
and sees a way to get even. This is a morally and emotionally
complex book that doesn’t take the easy way out when addressing
issues of social class, justice, sexual responsibility, and
loyalty. It is a brave and unflinching novel from the
bestselling author of Before I Die, a book about loyalty and the
choices that come with it. An intense, intelligent YA read.
Natasha Carthew is the author of Winter Damage. In her latest
book, The Light That Gets Lost, the main protagonist Trey must
avenge his parent’s murderer in order to find some kind of
closure. Buy it at the Guardian bookshop and find out more about
Natasha’s books on her website.