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In the novel, fictional characters may be thought of as the richest of signifiers. Traditionally, it is the character who mediates fictional worlds for our benefit, who calls out to us, engages our attention, and encourages us to inhabit those worlds, either briefly or in a more enduring manner. Yet character has become a very embattled and precarious topos in contemporary fiction. Marie Cosnay's writing offers representations of humans that are especially thin, most particularly in Villa Chagrin (2006), which puts conventional notions of character on trial in strategic fashions.