9 of Literature's Least Likable Protagonists

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Last week the New York Times ran a column on the importance of likable characters. Two takeaways we walked away with: the want for likeable characters isn’t lowbrow, but you don’t need to like the character to love the book. As Mohsin Hamid points out in the column, you can fall in love with the character’s struggles, their voice, and their observations. Creating an unlikable character is one thing, but creating an unlikable protagonist — the person in whom the reader is supposed to be invested — is another risk. We’ve gathered up some books that have it pulled off exceptionally well, with each of them featuring a protagonist we can’t stand — but stories we love nonetheless.

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