lie to me

The other day, I was reading a few chapters of a story for my new crit partner (which is going very well so far, I’m happy to report), when I noticed that some her characters’ thoughts contradicted some of the events in the story. Stating theory like fact, coloring the readers’ view with their own perspective, making decisions about the other characters based on chance, situation, and emotion.

… I love it when authors do that.

The unreliable narrator has always interested me. It’s an immediate insight into the character’s head, creating at least two different stories into the prose: what they say is happening, and what I as a reader can see between the lines. Playing with perspective, can have some great effects on prose and help add an immediate level of depth to a story.

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3 thoughts on “lie to me

  1. I know what you mean. It really adds another dimension to the work.

    The best example of it that I ever encountered was Kazuo Ishiguro’s The Remains of the Day. He does what you are describing in an absolutely masterful way. A great read. If you haven’t read it, I highly recommend it.

  2. I also agree that it’s amazing when done right. However, it seems that it’s one of the hardest things to do. If you’re trying it, I say good luck to you. 🙂

  3. It’s certainly a thing that can ask useful questions about the interaction of perception and reality. The trick, I suspect, is in leaving just enough clues to the unreliability, or at least making it clear enough that this is a narrator with a partial view, that the whole thing is just nicely jarring when the unreliability is revealed. The audience likes being fooled, but not being made to feel like fools.

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