Tuesday, 15 August 2017
Top Ten Tuesday: Books For Fans Of Unreliable Narrators.
Any book written could be described as having an 'unreliable narrator' as every character will have their own biases. However, these books I'm picking are really interesting because for varying reasons, it is very difficult to trust their narrators at all! Just a quick note to say that there will be some spoilers in this post so if you don't want things to be ruined, just look at the covers and trust that the narrators are pretty unreliable!
1) 'The Shock Of The Fall' by Nathan Fillion.
I really enjoyed this book for a variety of reasons, mostly because Fillion really seemed to understand mental health and the system surrounding it's treatment. The narrator, Matt, was interesting to read from because he suffered with Schizophrenia, and as he became more unwell and took less medication, the lines between reality and delusion became blurred.
2) 'One Of Us Is Lying' by Karen M. McManus.
There are four main POVs in this book and each are 'unreliable narrators' in their own right. In fact this was one of my favourite reads of this year for just that reason. Each of the four characters are a suspect in a murder case, and each have their own secrets. It means, while reading, you are never really sure if they are telling the truth or not.
3) 'Thin Air' by Michelle Paver.
This was a great ghost story that I thoroughly enjoyed reading in 2016! It's set high in the mountains and the narrator started out as any other man, perfectly reliable. But as he ascended towards the top and he began to face dizzying heights, altitude sickness and freezing temperatures it became more difficult to trust the strange, supernatural happenings that he described. Definitely very spooky and worth a read.
4) 'The Graces' by Laure Eve.
I loved this unreliable narrator because it isn't until the end of the book that you realise she has been one. You never learn 'River's' true name. And you only discover her true motives towards the end of the book. Before that, I thought she was a normal YA heroine looking to solve a mystery, survive high school, find love and make friends. But her manipulative and self-centred thoughts (starkly contrasting with her dialogue with other characters) will strike you as off from the beginning and it's fascinating to read.
5) 'The Girl On The Train' by Paula Hawkins.
This was a really good read, even if it plays on a fairly classic trope. One MC has a very severe drinking problem and due to this, can't remember a lot of her own actions, thoughts and conversations. Seeing as this happens during a murder investigation, it makes for a very tense and confused account of her own actions. Her own life and interests interfere, of course, and it was a great example of narrative at it's most unreliable.
6) 'The One Memory Of Flora Banks' by Emily Barr.
If ever there was an MC who could be called unreliable, then Flora is it. For those that don't know what Anterograde Amnesia is, it means that Flora is unable to make new memories after a specific event that triggered it. The story uses almost constant repetition as Flora makes the same realisations over and over. There are also plenty of twists and turns that make you realise just how unreliable a narrator she is too!
7) 'The Gospel Of Loki' by Joanne M. Harris.
I picked this book because unreliable narrators can occur due to extreme bias too, and Loki's is unprecedented. His entire story is made up of him moping and feeling sorry for himself, and trying to convince the reader that all punishment and blame upon himself was totally unfair. He's the kind of narrator that you love too because he does it all in a really humorous way.
8) 'White Cat' by Holly Black.
At first, this story doesn't seem like the kind of story that will contain an unreliable narrator. There's a lot going on, but it takes a lot to put the pieces together and realise what is actually going on. Cassel is actually under a form of hypnosis and is having his dreams tampered with, meaning that everything he remembers could potentially be false.
9) 'Going Bovine' by Libba Bray.
The narrator of this book is very obviously unreliable, because he is suffering from a particularly severe illness that causes him to constantly experience things that are not real. I can't 100% remember what causes it all - some kind of brain tumour I think - but this book is like one very long drug trip. It's weird for sure, but many people love this book and it's full to the brim of some pretty cool symbolism.
10) 'The Dead House' by Dawn Kurtagich.
This book will mess with your head. The narrator is actually one person split into two personalities, making her the most unreliable of all narrators. Not only that, but it's not clear what's actually causing it all: the doctors believe mental illness, friends are convinced that two souls have attached to each other, there's even talk of demons and ghosts. The ending provides no real answers either. But if you love unreliable narrators, this is a good book for you!