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Beyond the Blurb: On Critics and Criticism. Published by Cow Eye Press
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Critical Essays, Reviews
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Literature, Literary History, Literary Study

« Remembering Things You'd Forgotten | Main | Rambling Man »

07/31/2006

Comments

Richard

Thanks. I'll have to look out for this novel. I have a question about your point about the "unreliable narrator". Is it necessarily true that we have to believe that a narrator is DELIBERATELY presenting a false account? I admit to not being terribly well-versed in the terminology employed by literary critics. I've often used "unreliable narrator" in cases where it seems that the narrator is deluded, or, perhaps, is not smart enough to understand the story being told--so that we simply cannot rely on his or her version. Is that a misuse of the term?

Dan Green

In this case, the narrator certainly isn't stupid, and while she clearly has regrets about her past, she can't be said to be deluding herself. We learn enough to know that she's probably acted in the past more or less as she's acting in the present. That she makes us read between the lines doesn't make her unreliable.

Richard

Ok; that clarifies it. Thanks.

Scott

Dan,

I hadn't realized the first-person vs third-person element in s-o-c, but now that you point it out I think you're right.

You mentioned the lack of expository detail, and that's one of the things I like best about the book. Enough of the protagonist's past is told that she feels like an actual person instead of some stock character, but this information is not given through some charmless infodump. Instead, it's rather well-integrated into the protagonist's thoughts.

Helen

August 31, 2006
I am halfway through the book, and couldn't wait to talk to someone about it. It is the most unusual and creative novel I have read in a long time. I find my emotional reactions run the gamut from laughter to tears to shock. The protagonist is unconventional, to say the least. I am loving this book!

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