Wednesday, April 6, 2011
First person narrative
I'm partial to first person narratives. Often, it's what attracts me to a novel.
There's an irresistible drawing in by a first person voice, a feeling you are being confided in, as if the narrator is somehow telling you the truth. And I know all the arguments against first person narratives, too narrow a perspective/point of view, and reduction in tension because the narrator has lived to tell the tale. And I have loads of third person narratives I really love.
Yet, first person narratives remain my top choice.
A few favourites:
The madcap tellings of scatalogical Ariel Manto in Scarlett Thomas' 'The end of Mr Y'
The cool, sensitive voice of Hans van der Brook in post 9/11 New York in Joseph O'Neill's 'Netherland'
The mysterious stranger in a Lahore cafe in Mohsin Hamid's 'The Reluctant Fundamentalist'
The detached Eva detailing every mother's worst nightmare in Lionel Shriver's 'We need to talk about Kevin'
The contemplative yet gripping voice of Michael in Bernard Schlink's 'The Reader'
The unreliable, sinister narration of Michael Rogers in Agatha Christie's 'Endless Night'
The smitten (with Holly Golightly) unnamed narrator in Truman Capote's 'Breakfast at Tiffany's'
The sensible, self-possessed voice of Jane ('Reader, I married him') in Charlotte Bronte's 'Jane Eyre'
Have you any preference on narrative or any particular first person favourites?