the Little Red Reviewer

Unreliable Narrators: Maybe it’s all about trust.

Posted on: February 11, 2018

Enjoying an unreliable narrator is entirely personal preference. Some people love unreliable narrators, some people hate them, others pass judgement on a case by case basis.


The thing with an unreliable narrator is you never know if they are telling you the truth.


The thing with an unreliable narrator is that they are most likely hardly ever telling you the truth.


Maybe they are conning you into something. Maybe they want to appear bigger and badder than they really are. Maybe they want to see what they can get away with. Maybe they only want you to see their good side before you find out all the horrible things they did.


Maybe they are trying to figure out if they can trust you or not.


I don’t remember what book I was reading, but it was written in first person, and the narrator came right out and told the reader that they weren’t going to talk about certain things yet, because a) it still hurt to much and b) they weren’t sure they could trust the reader. That’s been in the back of my mind ever since, that there are occasions where I have to earn a character’s trust, that there may be times where no matter what I do, they won’t trust me.


So next time you run into an unreliable narrator, do what you can to earn their trust. After all, it’s just a story, what’s the worst that could happen?

2 Responses to "Unreliable Narrators: Maybe it’s all about trust."

Or, they’re like normal people, and relaying what they see and experience through their perspective…. Which, to the reader, might not always be the most reliable view.

Liked by 1 person

I always like the Rashomon approach, where multiple people retell the same series of events from different perspectives in order to frame themselves as the hero of the story. Because, at the end of the day, we’re all the “heroes” of the narrative.


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FTC Stuff

some of the books reviewed here were free ARCs supplied by publishers/authors/other groups. Some of the books here I got from the library. the rest I *gasp!* actually paid for. I'll do my best to let you know what's what.
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