[DWJ] characters losing their memories

Belben, Philip (Energy Wholesale) Philip.Belben at eon-uk.com
Tue Jan 15 05:15:21 EST 2008

Minnow pointed out:

> It could be worse, even so.  It could be a narrative in which the
> first-person narrator character loses her memory, which leaves one to
> wonder *who wrote it* and how *she* knew.  I have encountered that.

That idea is treated very neatly in "The Xanadu Manuscript" by I can't remember whom.  The first person narrator struggles to get it all down before the forgetting overtakes him.

A number of otherwise good books are more or less spoiled by memory loss.  Most recently for me, Ann Downer's "Hatching Magic" - I could have forgiven even the JKR influence if it hadn't been for the too convenient memory loss.  Admittedly, Downer only gave the adults the memory loss, and let the child remember; and there was some evidence carefully left behind too.  But I thought that she was being a bit half-hearted in her attempts to subvert the cliché.

On the other hand, Mary Stewart, who jolly well ought to have known better, completely spoils the ending of "The Little Broomstick" this way.  OTOH the rest of the book is so good that I keep rereading it anyway....

> 'After twenty years alone in my fastness, I died.  I buried myself.
> Reader, can you say the same?'

Of course, there's always the unreliable narrator side of it...  Actually, that's quite a good line to have put on one's tombstone!

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