Role Of The Narrator In Fiction.

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Atheist | 21:21 Thu 28th Apr 2022 | Arts & Literature
23 Answers
I always loved the sort of novel that begins in the Club where an Old Member, who doesn't usually say much, taps out his pipe and says, "That reminds me of an incident from my youth... a rather strange tale, which you may believe or not. All I can say is that it made a great impression on me."
Young McPherson winked at the company, took a sip of port, and said, " Come on, Dad, tell us all about it. We could do with one of your yarns to finish off the evening."
And so the Old Member begins.."It all started during the troubles with the Afghans back in '79..."


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Reader, I married him.
I also love this way of presenting a narrative. You are personally engaged, and trust the narrator, from the beginning. (The exception to this is the Ag. Christie where the narrator is the villain.) The structure also serves to hold often complex tales told over many years in place.

I think the example of 'Nellie Dean' the housekeeper in 'Wuthering Heights' is possibly the clearest example. Her viewpoint may also, of course be clouded and so is a source for essays. (I've suffered from them!)

P.G. Wodehouse's 'The Oldest Member' is a very clear example in the humour dept..He holds a whole series of short stories together. Very clever.
^^^ Remembered it now 'The Murder of Roger Ackroyd'. Sorry if this is a spoiler for anyone.
Try the opening to Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad.
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jourdain; I just wrote a long response to your post, but now it's disappeared! I think "The Oldest Member" was probably the model for my OP. I'm not keen on multiple first-person narrators: I get confused and don't know what's going on. Also, a single narrator makes me believe the story; omniscient or multiple narrators tells me it's just made up by an author.
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highbury, I'l try Conrad. Thank you.
BTW; my favourite opening sentence is that of Earthly Powers.
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Earthly Powers is by Antony Burgess. I like that book and Kingdom of the Wicked - both have strong but not intrusive narrators.
great expecks
ch 1 - I am born....
"If you really want to hear about it, the first thing you'll probably want to know is where I was born, and what my lousy childhood was like, and how my parents were occupied and all before they had me, and all that David Copperfield kind of crap, but I don't feel like going into it, if you want to know the truth."
Call me Ishmael
afghans in '79 - is early ( or young) watson in Sherlock HOlmes innit? some years since I read him

and ayth - if you are still with me - many Abers tire early -
blue death
outlining text in blue and then deleting

control-z will go back, so do that twice and it should be OK
'reverses immediate previous action'

if ever you wish to go forward it is control-y

PP, I've been doing control y for years and darned if I've progressed an inch.

Call me, Ishmael. You've got my number.
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‘Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again …’

… and you’re in!
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First person, past tense Naomi. (If I remember correctly)
Yes, that's a brilliant beginning.
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jourdain; My favourite opening sentence is that of Burgess's Earthly Powers.
I'd forgotten that one. Yes, it's amazing. One sentence and your brain is trying to cope with all the images and contradictions and make sense of them - which it can't - so you can't not read on to find out how they fit together. T.B.H. I didn't get all through it - lots of other things to read - but I think I'll have another go..... when I've read the waiting pile! :(
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jourdain; I've ready Earthly Powers several times. It just happens to appeal to me. I find Burgess's skill with words staggering. I don't like all his books - he's too clever for me - but Earthly and Kingdom are about on my level.
Best wishes. Bisous.

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