RE: RARA-AVIS: The undependable narrator / 1st person POV

From: GERLACH, Steve (
Date: 16 Aug 2006

Oh, I'm with you there, Miker. If the author is deliberately misleading ONLY to play an Ace up the sleeve later as a great "reveal", then something is certainly wrong. It's akin to having a murder mystery where the killer is only introduced with 10 pages to go (and unmasked with 5 pages to go). Another no no.






From: Michael Robison [mailto:] Sent: Thursday, 17 August 2006 12:25 PM To: Subject: RE: RARA-AVIS: The undependable narrator / 1st person POV


Steve wrote:

Surely ANY 1st person POV can be seen as being somewhat biased towards the character... 1st person POV is not something that can be handled objectively by the narrator.

*************** You're simply deconstructing the language till there's no meaning. It's a popular postmodern game that doesn't go anywhere.

I don't equate biased and undependable. I'm not talking about a narrator that expresses an opinion different than the one I might develop, and I'm not talking about a narrator who might narrate an event with obvious bias, ignorance, or naivity. I'm talking about blatantly misrepresenting the facts to the point where an objective reconstruction is impossible until the author chooses. An example would be Spillane's Mike Hammer. Opinionated and raging, but it's all there. Lethem's Motherless Brooklyn doesn't fit, either. It is entirely feasible for the reader to interpret the events in a different light than the protagonist.



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