Thursday, February 18, 2010

Just slippery or down-right nasty? The unreliable narrator.

A fantastic article in The Guardian listing fiction's top ten most unreliable. This is something I explored in The Blue leading to a 'twist' when the 'truth' is revealed - I found laying and re-laying the threads through the loom of the novel and then weaving them together until they became a single, hard carpet of story, hugely satisfying. And when I say 'carpet' I mean one of those enormous, richly-coloured Turkish rugs that are rolled out for you beside a dusty roadside in Capadoccia. I especially liked writing from the point of view of someone who appears to be one thing but is in fact another, and I'm exploring this further in my second novel which is still in the works. I like the slipperiness and how language creates that slipperiness - offering up partial truths and lies as a certain type of reality. I like the way this makes readers trust nothing about what is in front of them, and work to get underneath the carpet pile, to find the warp and the weft. None of my characters are as nasty as the slipperiest of characters in Guardian writer and novelist Henry Sutton's Top Ten Most Unreliable, but who knows, maybe one day.... Thanks again to the indefatigable Bookman Beattie for his link to Henry Sutton. 


Alexandra Crocodile said...

I completely agree - there's nothing better than building up a character to be a nice, sane person, then revealing that he's really a murdering madman:) I'm working on a mystery with that twist right now, actually!

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Rachel Fenton said...

As I read this post I remembered the first novel that surprised me: The Moonstone, by Wilkie Collins. I've been hooked on twists ever since.

Thanks for popping by, too, Mary - I really appreciate the support.