Top 10 books about revenge

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Wednesday April 14, 2021 at 8:27pm
From Alexandre Dumas to Ian McEwan, writers serve up a dish that’s best prepared only in imagination

n the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. Then he added man. Maybe he wouldn’t have if he’d known what was coming. Anyway, Adam and Eve messed up, God became furious and launched Project Fall of Man. In doing so he also created revenge as a concept.

As my new novel Sweet Sweet Revenge Ltd has been published in country after country, I have learned how to answer questions on my general view of revenge as civilly as possible. I always say that revenge works best as a form of self-therapy. Someone steps on your toes, and you plan 10 ways to get revenge. If you are the least bit like me, these thoughts will make you feel better. But stop there. Don’t follow through.

If you don’t know how to plot revenge in a good way, just let literature inspire you. Here are my best tips on how you can learn to become a worse person.

1. The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas
They say an elephant never forgets. The same goes for the self-proclaimed count in Dumas’ classic adventure novel. Revenge is rarely as beautiful as when the practitioner is not in a hurry. Edmond Dantès waited 24 years. In my new novel, one of the main characters fantasises about planting a hedge next to his neighbour’s plot, with the intention of letting it to grow until it obscures the sun for the neighbour’s carrot bed. He’d have to wait 500 years, but all good things comes to those who wait.

2. Hamlet by William Shakespeare
Great literature, of course. Perhaps the greatest. If you have not yet read it, I suggest the following: buy two copies and give one to your friend. Read the book separately. Then, sit down to discuss who the Danish Prince Hamlet really is. You’ll never finish, I promise. Hamlet is second on my list because, in terms of revenge, Shakespeare met his match in Dumas. One slowly builds up his revenge for a quarter of a century. The other engages in hasty murders and long procrastination.

3. Nutshell by Ian McEwan
In my youth, I was fascinated by the Swedish writer PC Jersild’s novel A Living Soul, in which the protagonist is in fact a


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