This coincides with my reading of this year's Man Booker Prize Short List. I've done four so far. The two I've enjoyed, The Sense of an Ending by Julian Barnes and Snowdrops by A.D. Miller, are written from the point of view of middle-class males who are not wildly removed from the books' authors. In fact the latter almost reads like a magazine feature about life for a single male British lawyer in Putin's Russia.
I've got on less well with the other two. Jamrach's Menagerie by Carol Birch is told by a young male urchin engaged by a Victorian collector of animals. Half Blood Blues by Esi Edugyan is told by an elderly black American jazz player who spent the years between the wars in Berlin. I didn't actually believe in either of them. And it's not helped by the fact that I know neither author can ever have had anything like the life experiences they describe.
I don't think this is anything to do with the fact that their authors are women. Hilary Mantel certainly made me believe in Thomas Cromwell in Wolf Hall. But maybe that worked because he was such a sinister character. It seems that's what you have to do to make people convincing. One of the reasons Randy Newman ventriloquises so well is that his protagonists are often weak, lustful, grasping and sometimes outright malign. He's perfectly comfortable with admitting that elements of those people are inside us all.
The men (do we still call them heroes?) in the first two Booker books are averagely horny and certainly easily-led. In both cases they don't see what's happening to them. In creating them the authors seem to have revealed plenty about themselves. That's why I preferred them to the other two where the authors don't.