Arushi Singh

McDowell by William H. Coles is a book that follows the story of the eponymous “hero” Hiram McDowell, who is a famous surgeon and a sleaze in every other way. He is stuck in a bad marriage primarily because of his infidelity. He also has children that his role as an absentee parent further colours his character.

This book is essentially for adults but can also be enjoyed by mature teenagers who wish to explore the complex nature of relationships.

What intrigued me about this book from the very beginning was the “antihero” element in it. McDowell is the protagonist of the novel, but he shouldn’t be confused as being the “hero”. McDowell does not possess the traditional qualities of a hero. There is no sense of idealism in his character and this makes the character hard to like, and therein lies the beauty of the book. The author does not glorify any character or create characters that seem too good to be true. In fact, of all the elements in this book, the characterization by the author is arguably the most potent.

The author has created grey characters that you would love to hate and hate to love. The absence of the traditional hero makes this novel much more intriguing and adds to the element of realism. This makes the novel a fascinating read. The characters in the novel have their own flaws as well as stories. Many of them are difficult to like but one could easily relate to them.
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