unreliable narrator love

unreliable narrator


from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A narrating character or storyteller in a literary or other artistic work—such as a novel, play, song, or film—who provides inaccurate, misleading, conflicting, or otherwise questionable information to the reader or audience.


Reportedly coined by U.S. literary critic Wayne C. Booth in 1961. (Wiktionary)


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  • Oh yes, we all have to grouse a bit.

    July 4, 2007

  • Oh, I wasn't suggesting that, slumry. Just grousing. :-)

    July 3, 2007

  • I did not say I *liked* unreliable narrators, only that they exist in literature ;-) Just as in real life. Then again, we often read fiction for a reprieve from real life.

    July 3, 2007

  • U, I'm with you there. Just this morning, as I was reading a novel, I started wondering whether I had an unreliable narrator on my hands and thought, "Well, I'm just not up for that, so he'd better not be." In movies, somehow I have a higher level of tolerance for such things.

    July 3, 2007

  • It is more of a lit-crit thing, isn't it? Still, some of the fun of mystery stories can be in speculating about who is believable. And it seems related to dramatic irony, where the audience knows more than the players do.

    July 3, 2007

  • Like in those stories where the narrator turns out to be the bad guy in the end, right? That's fun but almost approaches a level of action I'm too lazy to carry when reading a book for fun. Or watching a movie, or whatever.

    July 3, 2007

  • The Wikipedia description is pretty succinct. I have always understood it to refer to the reader's *job* of judging how trustworthy the narrator is in a piece of fiction.

    July 3, 2007

  • slumry, could you give a reference? I keep picturing the narrator switching stories mid-movie, whilst the actors keep performing according to the original script.

    July 3, 2007