Unreliable narrators

One of my favorite literary devices is the unreliable narrator. Wikipedia defines this as “a narrator, whether in literature, film, or theatre, whose credibility has been seriously compromised.” There are a ton of reasons why this could be the case: purposeful deception, mental illness, denial, self-delusion, self-protection, amnesia, etc. Recently, I’ve been thrilled to read three different novels that use unreliable narrators (The Asylum by John Harwood, The Dinner by Herman Koch, and The Other Typist by Suzanne Rindell), each of which was all the more enjoyable because I felt slightly off-kilter as I was reading, never quite knowing exactly how much to believe or where the story was going.

I decided to go through my review list and look for other books which have given me the same experience, and I found a few:

~ Before I Go to Sleep by S.J. Watson
~ Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein
~ Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
~ The Sister by Poppy Adams

Do you also enjoy unreliable narrators? Do you have any you would recommend?

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8 Responses to Unreliable narrators

  1. Julie@my5monkeys
    Twitter: aprilmom00
    says:

    another one that comes is to mind is Frost …very unreliable narrator. I like them sometimes. I tried reading Code name Verity but couldn’t get into it.

  2. irene says:

    Thanks for your honesty. I thoroughly enjoyed Cod Name… but that’s just me.

  3. Beth F
    Twitter: BethFishReads
    says:

    Did you read the Lifeboat? Add that to your list.

    • CarrieK
      Twitter: booksandmovies
      says:

      Candace – I did read Lifeboat – how did I forget that one?!

  4. Patti Smith
    Twitter: PattiRSmith
    says:

    Gone Girl is a perfect example of the way the unreliable narrator can be so frustrating but so perfect at the same time. What a punch!