Professionally speaking…

Following on from the review yesterday, I was wondering: what’s the weirdest or most unusual choice of profession you’ve come across as the focus of a novel? (I feel that could be much better phrased, but I can’t think of anything at the moment.)

I think the strangest one I’ve read is in Edward Carey’s Observatory Mansions, where the protagonist is one of those living statues, entirely covered in white.

Beat that, if you can!

14 thoughts on “Professionally speaking…

  • April 21, 2010 at 3:59 am
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    Hi. I just spent a couple of the happiest hours of my life going through your top 50 list. These are the kind of books I've been looking for and it is pure joy to find so many titles in one place . My list of "books I want to read" now has 231 authors on it. I'll never get them all read in this lifetime, but I'll die trying. And happy. Thank-You!

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  • April 21, 2010 at 4:48 am
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    Please help me find 70,000 kind hearted people worldwide willing to buy virtual lemonade advertisement plot to help fund for college

    Pixels for Lemonade

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  • April 21, 2010 at 7:08 am
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    In Haruki Murakami's Kafka on the Shore, one of the main characters, Nakata, is a cat-finder. It's not exactly the focus of the novel, though.

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  • April 21, 2010 at 7:18 am
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    This is actually really difficult, isn't it? For a while it seemed like every single novel I picked up had a teacher/lecturer/journalist or writer as a protoganist. Boring!

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  • April 21, 2010 at 8:52 am
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    Wow, great topic! I don't think I can think of one off the top of my head either. Nothing quite so interesting as a human statue!! Although the book I'm reading at the moment (Beatrice and Virgil by Yann Martel) prominently features a taxidermist!

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  • April 21, 2010 at 10:26 am
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    I think that 'a corpse beauty technician' might be the weirdest and that was in The Loved One by Evelyn Waugh. I am trying to think of more so may very well pop back now and again.

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  • April 21, 2010 at 10:28 am
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    Not sure I can beat yours, but I recently read The Great Perhaps where one of the characters does research on the violence of pigeons!

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  • April 21, 2010 at 11:33 am
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    Oh! Darn it, the title escapes me but what about nasty fellows who dig up bodies and sell them for dissection? Not exactly a legal profession but they do collect a fee!

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  • April 21, 2010 at 3:25 pm
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    Wasn't it in 'Our Mutual Friend' where a father and daughter trolled the Thames looking for suicides, then picked their pockets?

    That's the best I can come up with off-hand!

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  • April 21, 2010 at 10:07 pm
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    What about Kevin, the Nazi memorabilia collector, in Boxer, Beetle? Not quite his profession but with his condition he was hardly made for a job in an office.

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  • April 22, 2010 at 6:32 pm
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    I suspect you wanted "real" people and "real" professions. If, however, you are feeling generous, and unashamedly appealing to your stint as a Librarian, I will submit the Sub-Dean of Mistsifting, Seftus Leprix from The Curse of the Gloamglozer. Are you a "Librarian Knight"?

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  • April 23, 2010 at 5:14 pm
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    There's a "professional nose" in Patrick Suskind's _Perfume_.

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  • April 24, 2010 at 10:56 pm
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    That's hard to beat!
    The one that popped to mind is a hair-collector (he collects and sells hair for a living) in A Fine Balance which I just read recently. It's not the main focus of the book, but it fills up a good part of it.

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