Louis O'Neill's new novel Almost Love has another unlikeable heroine

Author Louise O'Neill says there is more material to mine in characters that are complex rather than blandly cookie-cutter ones

Writer Louise O'Neill's previous novels cover hard-hitting themes of rape culture and sexual objectification.
Writer Louise O'Neill's previous novels cover hard-hitting themes of rape culture and sexual objectification.PHOTO: ANNA GRONIECKA

Irish novelist Louise O'Neill has never shied away from putting unlikeable heroines on the page.

From Emma, the shallow, attention-seeking protagonist of Asking For It (2015), who becomes the victim of a gang rape; to selfish Sarah, involved in a toxic affair - her narrators tend to be unpleasant young women to whom horrible things happen, leaving the reader caught between despising and sympathising with them.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 13, 2018, with the headline 'Champion of unlikeable heroines'. Subscribe