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Unreliable Narrator Novels

Discussion in 'Book club' started by Underachiever, Jan 26, 2012.

  1. Underachiever

    Underachiever New commenter

    A book I loath, but would have to acknowledge is Money by Martin Amis. One I enjoyed (rather than endured) is The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time by Mark Haddon
  2. InkyP

    InkyP Star commenter

    Life of Pi - Yann Martel
  3. leadlearner

    leadlearner New commenter

    The Collector - John Fowles, The murder of Roger Ackroyd Agatha Christie,,The Instance of the Fingerpost , Ian pears,
  4. cariad2

    cariad2 New commenter

    From what I remember of my A-levels, Wuthering Heights had an unreliable narrator. But I wouldn't recommend it - I hated that book.

    The inclusion of Huckleberry Finn made me think. I tend to think of an unreliable narrator as one who, to a greater or less extent, deliberately misleads the reader. Maybe to put a favourable light on their own actions.
    But, thinking about it, it would also include essentially innocent narrators whose interpretations of events are incorrect due to their naivety or their unquestioning acceptance of adults' social norms.
  5. cariad2

    cariad2 New commenter

    This is a great audio version of Huckleberry Finn. The reader is just perfect for the story. I downloaded it for free, put it onto my Kindle, plugged in my earphones and spent many happy nights listening to it on holiday last summer - it was ideal when I didn't want to disturb Mr C or Cariadlet by putting on the light and reading.

  6. nick909

    nick909 Star commenter

    I completely agree. A more recent (and more extreme) example might be Room by Emma Donoghue. A child's distorted view of the world, formed entirely by very limited experiences and his complete trust in his mother's explanations for everything. The reader, through subtle and some less than subtle nuances gradually builds up a picture of what's really going on, with dawning horror, whilst the narrator remains oblivious.
    Thanks for the link to the download of the audiobook...just the thing to 'read' at night, with Mrs909's recently developed aversion to light when she sleeps!
    Great suggestions everyone - keep them coming.
  7. Read this with interest:absolutely loved the Secret history and The Little Stranger. Cant get into Never let me go.

  8. thebigonion

    thebigonion New commenter

    Not novels, but many of Edgar Allen Poe's short stories have deeply unreliable narrators.
    The Somnambulist by Jonathan Barnes - deeply unreliable...
  9. I've just finished reading 'Gillespie and I', by Jane Harris, who also wrote 'The Observations'.
    I thought it was excellent.
  10. FrauSue

    FrauSue New commenter

    Would "Atonement" fall into this category? Although there the ending resolves the "unreliability" issue.

  11. I love an unreliable narrator! Try A Kind of Intimacy by Jenn Ashworth - I read it in the Summer and loved it. Narrator is definitely unreliable!
  12. "We need to talk about Kevin" would fall into this category, I think.
  13. nick909

    nick909 Star commenter

    On my current list of books to order from the library.
  14. nick909

    nick909 Star commenter

    Yes, it would, I agree. Unreliable due to her naivety and unwillingness to acknowledge her son's actions.
  15. nick909

    nick909 Star commenter

    One to add to this thread:
    Pigeon English - Stephen Kelman.
    Due to the narrator's youthful naivety and being a recently arrived immigrant, unwittingly caught up in the gang-related troubles of an inner-city London estate. The horror slowly builds as the reader realises only too quickly the trouble he's getting himself into whilst remaining relatively oblivious to most of it.
    A great book.
  16. "The Wide Sargasso Sea" by Jean Rhys, and a comic one -"AJ Wentworth BA"
  17. woody9

    woody9 New commenter

    'An Instance of the Fingerpost' by Iain Pears is brilliant. Three narrators in succession, who each reveal their own 'truth'....
  18. tartetatin

    tartetatin New commenter

    The Handmaid's Tale
  19. Underachiever

    Underachiever New commenter

    I think Atonement is an interesting case. I would have said that the novel isn't cleared up at the end - it's actually muddied. It doesn't appear to be an unreliable narrator novel until we find out that the whole story has been narrated by Briony. Does the fact that she suggests two different endings clearly indicate that she's unreliable, or does it make her honest? Interesting.
  20. highway61

    highway61 New commenter

    Engleby by Sebastian Faulks.
    Highly recommended!

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