From the critically acclaimed - Jean Rhys's Wide Sargasso Sea being the preeminent example - to the pop hit - Gregory Maguire's Wicked, not to mention everything else he's written - the rewrite of a canonical novel from the point of view of a secondary character, usually understood as somehow badly served by the text that is, of course, equally the site of the character's origin, has become a genre unto itself. Some authors even beat their scions to the chase and write their own rewrites, like Veronica Roth, whose Divergent trilogy has an appendage in an additional novel from the point of view of the love interest, a fourth book about a character nicknamed Four, entitled... Four. In part, this drive to deconstruct and reconstruct classic narratives has an obvious political impetus, whether post-colonial, feminist, sex-positive, body-positive, queer-positive, or whatever other valence the author might write from. But, the fact remains that many of these efforts are also ways to cash in on the craze for intellectual property, especially IP in the public domain.
Given that these novels generally respond to readers' frustration over the way a particular character is represented, I would like to throw my hat in the ring, as a frustrated reader, and offer to whichever novelist will take the challenge the rewrite of a canonical novel that I most want to read:
Authors, wordsmiths, scribblers, where is the novel written from the point of view of Miss Barker's cow? Elizabeth Gaskell devotes a mere two paragraphs to this fascinating and tragedy-stricken character in Cranford. This unfortunate cow belongs to the spinster, Miss Barker, who loves her like a daughter, but is unable to save her from losing all her hair in a lime pit. We never learn the name of this poor, benighted beast, only that she was possessed of "wonderful milk" and "wonderful intelligence" and can take a little comfort in the pajamas that her benefactress Miss Barker sews for her. Oh poor cow of Alderney origin! Oh poor cow, deprived of her own voice! Oh poor cow whom "the whole town knew and kindly regarded," who was pitied and smiled at in her misfortune! Oh woe is cow! Where is the novel that will restore to us this cow's story, so simply sketched by Mrs. Gaskell, who was more concerned with telling the tales of spinster ladies?
You think I am joking, but really, in this topsy-turvey age of imminent disasters of the bleakest sort, isn't a novel about a bald cow in grey flannel pajamas exactly what we need?