Sunday, March 11, 2007

Relying on the Unreliable

I'm deep in allergy hell right now, and for some reason this got me thinking about unreliable narrators (probably due to how unreliable my brain becomes on allergy meds), specifically the good, the bad and the ugly. I happen to really enjoy a narrators who lie (to me and to themselves) in movies (Usual Suspects), TV (Black Donnellys), and books (Catcher in the Rye), and I'm always on the look out for suggestions.

So bring it on: Who's the best and worst of the unreliable narrators out there? What makes them work? When do they cross the line?

9 comments:

47th Page & Light said...

"The Haunting of Hill House" where Shirley Jackson's heroine holds your hand so trustingly throughout, and then---

I have it somewhere if you want to read it
Feel better, pookie---

web said...

My first thought was also Shirley Jackson - We Have Always Lived in the Castle.

Chris said...

In "The Stone Diaries" the narrator tells us from the beginning that she's unreliable and occasionally lies. I drove me crazy but makes for good reading when you're wondering what the "real" story is.

Chris said...

Oh and "Life of Pi" I still don't know the true version of that story. But I go with the tiger.

Nalini Singh said...

Odd Thomas by Dean Koontz. I fell for it.

slpenney said...

Anne Frasier does great unreliable narrators. Not all of them are, so as you read her backlist, it makes you wonder if the current one is or isn't. Before I Wake is her best though.

Ann(ie) said...

I'm with Nalini. Odd Thomas is the best.

Mags said...

The Sound and the Fury, because half the time you're not even sure which narrator is speaking!

Stephanie said...

Gentlemen and Players by Joanne Harris. Though I suppose the narrator is reliable--in a fashion. But it's a lot of trickery and guessing based on what you're told.