I've just finished Brooklyn by Colm Tóibín. Over-all I found it a slightly dissatisfying read. I didn't believe in the heroine Eilis. She didn't strike me as being like any woman I had ever met, come across or heard of, especially her attitude to her painful and underwhelming first experience of sex. It did occur to me that she might be more of a male fantasy of what a woman ought to be like.
In complete contrast, I felt utterly taken by the protagonist in Siri Hustvedt's The Sorrows of an American. Is this evidence of better writing, or just that Hustvedt creates a female fantasy of what a man ought to be? And I happily buy into it (the erotic tenor of the first sentence of this paragraph is not lost on me).
There is an argument that the talent in good writers shows in how they craft characters very different from themselves. Then, on the other hand, it could be said that our stories are merely peopled by facsimiles of ourselves with different wigs on.
Perhaps it doesn't matter. Maybe there are enough diverse writers out there to construct abundant realities, and it is for us readers to decide which dream world we are prepared to step into.