Saturday, February 28, 2015
Who’s the Greatest Unreliable Narrator in Literature?
Feb 27, 2015
Colin Winnette and Jeremy M. Davies each have a new novel featuring an unreliable narrator: Winnette's Coyote follows a possibly unhinged mother and Davies's Fancy is about a man looking for a catsitter. Here, once and for all, they (maybe) settle the debate: Who’s the greatest unreliable narrator in literature?
Jeremy M. Davies: Let's set some ground rules: No Faulkner, no Joyce. No John Dowell, from The Good Soldier. No Nabokov at all. Nabokov dined out on his unreliable narrators for, what, forty years? Who needs those recommendations?
We’ll qualify our assignment by rebranding it "Best Unrecognized Unreliable Narrators."
Colin Winnette: How unreliable is a narrator really if he or she is famous for being unreliable?
Should Beckett be similarly nixed? I’d otherwise propose Krapp. If unreliable narrators manipulate facts to suit their needs, Krapp—whose existence consists solely of listening to self-selected segments of autobiographical tapes and eating bananas—is the apotheosis of unreliability.