Unreliable Narrators

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They may or may not be lying. But damn do they tell a good story.
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Bookmateadded a book to the bookshelfUnreliable Narrators3 years ago
You can't mention unreliable narrators and not bring up Lolita's Humbert Humbert. The stylistic device is employed so convincingly that readers even questioned Nabokov’s own character, believing he perhaps shared Humbert’s predilection for “nymphets,” which prompted him to write an afterword to dissect the various misconceptions.

Nabokov made us sympathise, feel sorry for and sometimes root for Humbert Humbert. But remember: the character is just as intentionally manipulative as he is unreliable with his intentions. He was able to play with our feelings and perspectives, just like how he toyed with the nurses and doctors while institutionalised
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Bookmateadded a book to the bookshelfUnreliable Narrators3 years ago
An elderly woman descending into dementia embarks on a desperate quest to find the best friend she believes has disappeared. But no one will listen to Maud—not her frustrated daughter, Helen, not her caretakers, not the police, and especially not Elizabeth’s mercurial son, Peter.

But is this truly an old woman who's speaking the truth, or has old age muddled reality and desire? "Elizabeth is Missing" makes use of this unreliable narrator to spin what is a heart wrenching and mysterious tale that goes all the way back to the second world war.
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Bookmateadded a book to the bookshelfUnreliable Narrators3 years ago
The lives of the Barretts, a normal suburban New England family, are torn apart when fourteen-year-old Marjorie begins to display signs of acute schizophrenia. A Catholic priest believes she's possessed by a demon. Then they find themselves the stars of a reality TV show.

Fifteen years later, a bestselling writer interviews Marjorie’s younger sister, Merry. But can Merry's account be trusted?
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Bookmateadded a book to the bookshelfUnreliable Narrators3 years ago
Note: Never trust a demon who has a story to tell.
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Bookmateadded a book to the bookshelfUnreliable Narrators3 years ago
First of all, Dave is not sure if he killed someone or not. Not a great start to what might be life behind bars.

And thanks to drugs and a deep desire for possession, Dave is propelled to last till the very end of the novel... Or maybe not.... We don't know...
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Bookmateadded a book to the bookshelfUnreliable Narrators3 years ago
Can you trust a narrator if they can't even remember who they are? Or if the person around them seems to feed them dubious information?
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Bookmateadded a book to the bookshelfUnreliable Narrators3 years ago
Midnight's Children is one man's connection and representation of an independent India. And his life is supposed to run parallel with the growth of a post-colonial India. Narrator and main character Saleem Sinai is born at the stroke of midnight when India was liberated. His life is a special one, but can his words be trusted?

With themes of memory, legacy and cyclical history, it's no surprise that the story of one man would end up so bloated that it collapses on itself at the end. When you have to live up to expectations and legacy, you end up telling a small lie here and there to boost yourself.
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Bookmateadded a book to the bookshelfUnreliable Narrators3 years ago
Unlike those of questionable personality (Humbert Humbert) or those with questionable sources (Nick Carraway), Huckleberry Finn's unreliability comes from his sheer naïveté. Of course you can't really blame him for his inexperience and youth, but... you can't really believe him either. Though sometimes his naïveté is a breath of fresh air, his misinterpretations of events also leaves feeling a little cheated.
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Bookmateadded a book to the bookshelfUnreliable Narrators3 years ago
The thing about The Metamorphosis is that the main character and narrator, Gregor Samsa, turned into an insect. HE TURNED INTO AN INSECT. Now was that for real, or was it all in his head? Can you trust him when he said he's really transformed into a bug? It's hard to say if you can trust the words of what might be a mad man.
The Metamorphosis, Franz Kafka
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Bookmateadded a book to the bookshelfUnreliable Narrators3 years ago
This is a tragic tale of people knowing too much and too little. Nelly, servant to the Earnshaw and Linton families, appears to be a reliable eyewitness to events, but she’s a storyteller and frequently embellishes things. The other narrator, Lockwood, learns about the complicated history of the family from Nelly, and therefore often misinterprets events. So... the truth sometimes is actually far from what is being stated, and we're just thinking.... maybe the story might have gone a different way had the narrator been someone else.
Wuthering Heights, Emily Jane Brontë
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Bookmateadded a book to the bookshelfUnreliable Narrators3 years ago
This isn’t a clear-cut case of the narrator not knowing more than the reader or lying. It's just that Nick Carraway only tells us the story that was told to him by Gatsby himself. Think of it as a game of broken telephone. It's just hard to trust what Nick says because it's hard to trust what little comes out Gatsby (and the second hand stories!).
The Great Gatsby, Francis Scott Fitzgerald
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Bookmateadded a book to the bookshelfUnreliable Narrators3 years ago
Here's what makes William Makepeace Thackeray's Vanity Fair so juicy - it's like watching an episode of Hollywood Access but like, in the Victorian era. Imagine all the high-quality low-brow gossip that comes through the walls of parties. And you know what gossip is like? Salt. It adds flavour to your life and gives everything that much needed zing. But take just a pinch of it. Too much might kill you. And in fact, with Vanity Fair, you don't even know where this gossip is coming from. Why? Because you just can't trust the narrator. Becky Sharp (see, it's all the Beckys you can't trust) is on a mission to climb the social ladder and damn if she doesn't do /anything/ that will take her to the upper classes.
Bookmate
Bookmateadded a book to the bookshelfUnreliable Narrators3 years ago
It's hard to talk about what happens in this book without giving the good part of it away. Heck, even just by putting it on this shelf is a spoiler.

But if you must know - The Good Soldier revolves around the dissolution of a relationship, deaths, and madness that surround a group of friends. Throw in an unreliable narrator, and you're really in for a ride.
The Good Soldier, Ford Madox
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Bookmateadded a book to the bookshelfUnreliable Narrators3 years ago
Moll Flanders is one underrated character by Daniel Defoe. Through trickery and thieving, Flanders managers to live out her 60 something years of her life between states of rags and riches. But what truly makes her account so damn interesting, is the fact that you never know if she's telling the truth, or if she's embellishing her facts with lots and lots of bragging.
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