What's in a name?

Readers of One Green Bottle will know that at the end Magali becomes a grandmother. For those of you still to read it, that’s not a great spoiler. In fact at that point, her granddaughter doesn’t even have a name. Not in the book anyway – she obviously got one from her parents.

But what? She’s a year old now and it’s time I knew what to call her.

So rather than pore over lists of names on a website, I’m turning to you for help. Much more fun. All suggestions are welcome in the comments below. Well, not quite all – there are a few restrictions. The name has to exist in both English and French. (Quite apart from other considerations, I wouldn’t pick Marie-Antoinette, for example.) Nor do I go for the outlandish – I tend to avoid names like Aspidistra or Snapshot. And definitely no Khalisees, please. But otherwise, feel free to suggest some favourite names, and  I’ll draw up a shortlist. Many thanks!


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  1. There are so many pretty ‘girl’ names out there, Curtis. Do you have a rough idea of whom you want the girl to be or be like or what qualities you want her to embody? I’ve always thought it a little odd how most cultures assign a name to a baby at birth, before you know anything about him/her. For me, I’m stuck with (and have stuck with mine); it could have been worse, though. I could have been a Vivian; I think it’s a great name, but it doesn’t fit how I see myself as an adult (or probably when I was a child). Some suggestions that I like, though (and that we considered for our daughter; but, darnit, Disney has screwed up some nice names!): Calliope, Alcyone, Dana or Danae (with or without umlaut), Amalie, Aurora/Aurore, Athene/a, Terpsichore (I know, getting a bit out there), Thalia (apparently Thah-li-a , 3 syllables, is the more en vogue pronunciation these days, not Thahl-ya, 2 syllables, which was what I had been calling it when we considered the name), Minerva, and even Niobe and Medea (were it not for the horrific child-murdering backstory to the latter’s supposed tale, as currently told; Niobe doesn’t fare super-well either). At one point when my husband and I were floundering for choices that we could agree on, I went really ‘weird,’ like to Clytemnestra and others. Oh, I could go on and on; Theoi.com is a great source for well-cited Greek myths (including loads of names). Good luck & let us know what happens!

    • Thanks for the lovely long reply, Leigh. And some excellent suggestions – I’m spoilt for choice! I might indeed avoid Clytemnestra, but Aurore takes my fancy. For the moment she’s unlikely to play a big part, so I haven’t given much thought to her personality. But in a way she represents a new beginning so that name is well suited.

  2. Glenice Adele. Glenice of Welsh origin, meaning ‘Holy”. Adele of both French and German origin, meaning “noble wolf”. So there you have a fierce sacred spirit animal with the added advantage of having “Glen” as a counter-gender nickname. Seems a worthy companion for a private investigator who has experienced fluid sexual orientation.

    • Thank you, Sue. I do like Adele, indeed. There was an excellent series of French comic books in the 1980s (maybe still going) called Les Aventures Extraordinaires d’Adèle Blanc-Sec, so maybe she’ll grow up to have extraordinary adventures herself.

  3. What’s wrong with Snapshot??? 😉
    How about Eleanor? It goes with Magali (well in my head it does) 🙂
    Or you could always just call her the wean or the bairn and you don’t have to name her 🙂

  4. Names. Ugh. I have the same problem with my characters. What about if we just give her a number and let her decide for herself when she’s of age?
    I’ll throw out Eleanor. It’s pretty solid.

    • Ha, ha, not a bad idea! It can take a long while to find a character’s name you feel comfortable with. But when you do, there’s a sort of recognition and you think, ‘Yes, that’s definitely him /her.’

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