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Whilst even the smallest male bit part character is invested with idiosyncracies to make him feel like a real living breathing person, women are either faintly drawn, or - if Stephen is interested in them - they seem to be all versions of Diana Villiers (Louise Wogan and Clarissa Oakes in particular).
I include Jack's wife Sophie in the list of faintly drawn characters. It is as if O'Brian's descriptive powers and ability to desribe a person's foibles in a deftly crafted sentence deserts him when it comes to women.
What do you guys think?
But then again, the novels are set in a man's world, and we don't get to see all that much of the wives and sweethearts anyway. A more rounded female character does eventually surface as Christine Wood in Blue at the Mizzen. I have a feeling I would have liked her better, if only there had been a complete 21st novel.
O'Brian's biography of Bank is an outstanding read. One of the best bios of an 18th century naturalist I've read.
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