[DWJ] Re: characters losing their memories

Rachel Ganz rachel at compromise.fsnet.co.uk
Wed Jan 16 05:38:42 EST 2008

Deborah wrote.....

 Robert Cormier did something
 similar a couple of times that I can think of, in After the First
 Death and I Am the Cheese. In both these cases, the narrative
 voice is revealed by the story's end to be completely unreliable
 as a source of the facts narrated in the story. A little bit
 different from the Hexwood unreliability which Gili pointed out.
Rachel responded ...
I dislike the whole thing of the unreliable narrator. I want to know that there is someone that I can trust telling me this story. Fiction is fiction and lies are lies, and unreliable narrators are somewhere between the two. I dislike David Mamet extraordinarily.

On the other hand, I heard a discussion of the new book: Memory: An Anthology, on Start the Week (BBC Radio 4), that all our memories are fictions we tell ourselves. If you mess with people's memories, then you are messing with the story in quite deep ways, as if you are giving characters Alzheimer's. If the narrator is unreliable, then you are messing with the reader, and you don't have the same judgement calls that you do if someone in front of you is lying to you.


Brevity, clarity and cups of tea

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