Friday, October 13, 2017

Eleven of the least reliable narrators in literature

At Electric Lit Carrie V Mullins tagged eleven of her favorite unreliable narrators, including:
John Dowell from The Good Soldier

Ford’s 1915 novel opens with the narrator telling us we are about to be told “the saddest story he has ever heard.” That narrator, John Dowell, is the kind of person who wants to see himself, and the world, in a very particular way — traditional, trustworthy, and loyal — and seems crushed when things turn out to be otherwise. But as the intentionally jumpy narrative comes together, Ford makes us wonder whether Dowell is the victim of this sad story or one of its creators.
Read about another entry on the list.

The Good Soldier also appears on Piers Paul Read's top ten list of novels about unfaithful wives, Jean Hanff Korelitz's top six list of her favorite books about failed marriages, Penelope Lively's six favorite books list, John Mullan's lists of ten of the best spas in literature, ten of the best failed couplings in literature, and ten great novels with terrible original titles, and on the Guardian's list of ten of the best unconsummated passions in fiction and Adam Haslett's list of the five best novelists on grief. One line from the novel appears among Stanley Fish's top five sentences.

The Page 99 Test: The Good Soldier.

--Marshal Zeringue