Tuesday, March 1, 2016

TTT: Unreliable Narrators


This Week's TTT Topic: Books When You're in the Mood for X

My X=Unreliable Narrators

I do love a good unreliable narrator. These are my favorite books whose narrators are unreliable either because they are being denied information, they are too consumed by themselves, they are confused, their minds work differently, or they're liars. Some of them are a combination of these. A couple of the books have multiple unreliable narrators.









 Do you enjoy unreliable narrators or do you find them frustrating? If you enjoy them, who are some of your favorite unreliable narrators?

10 comments:

  1. I really liked The Thief, have to check out some of the others you mentioned. I tend to like unreliable narrators, even if sometimes they can be frustrating. Most often they tend to be humorous too. My TTT link

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    1. Yes, they can be humorous but I think it depends on why they are unreliable. They can also be heartbreaking.

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  2. Ha! When I saw your post title, I immediately thought of The Thief. And then as I was wracking my brain for more examples, I saw everything I thought of listed in your post! Excellent books, all. I guess I really do like unreliable narrators!

    (Ancillary Justice might apply: she's not exactly unreliable, but she certainly doesn't tell us everything. Which I guess is the definition of an unreliable narrator!)

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    1. You know, I actually wavered on The Thief. Gen feels like an unreliable narrator on the first read, but on rereads I realized it is more that the reader is unreliable. Which is part of the brilliance in how Megan Whalen Turner manipulated narrative expectations. But if you read it the second time as Gen's written account for Helen, he isn't unreliable at all. He just didn't waste time telling her things she already knew.

      I still haven't read the Ancillary books but I WILL. SOON. Hopefully.

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    2. Oh, my goodness: I just finished rereading it for The Book Wars' readalong, and I can't believe it never even occurred to me to think of it as Gen talking to Helen! Of course! I want to immediately read it again and see how that works! (You're completely right: it's not the narration that's unreliable, it's Gen's actions.) Mind blown yet again by MWT.

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  3. I am in no doubt that The Thief has one of the BEST examples of an unreliable narrator. I'm not sure I'm always a fan, but I like The Thief's style.

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    1. As I said above, I think the reader is more unreliable but you only notice that on a reread.

      Megan Whalen Turner is a master writer. Her style is unparalleled.

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  4. this is a very intriguing topic - I didn't realize that Code Name Verity had an unreliable narrator! My TTT

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    1. On a first read, that first half of the book is very questionable. How much can you trust what this girl is saying? Who is she anyway? What is real and what is a lie? It's very gripping.

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  5. I wonder if maybe I prefer unreliable secondary characters? In The Country of Ice Cream Star and Archivist Wasp both have reliable protagonists but VERY unreliable secondary characters, so you get these whiplash moments where the protagonist (and you) suddenly realize that Something Is Not What It Seemed.

    Andrea K Host's And All the Stars is like that too, come to think of it.

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