What are you reading? - Page 4 - Myth-Weavers

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What are you reading?

   
Sure, Kvothe can be annoying, but at least he doesn't have amnesia like a typical JRPG protagonist.

Since we're on the subject, a partial list of the great unreliable narrators in literary history:

1. Holden, from The Catcher in the Rye (an oldie but a goodie)

2. Frank, from The Wasp Factory (one of the creepiest damned books you'll ever stumble across)

3. Narrator, from Fight Club (sure, we all know the twist by now, but at the time, it was a shocker)

4. Humbert, from Lolita (not an easy book to make it through, but man, it sure is good)

5. The Boy, from Life of Pi (a beautiful book, almost the opposite of the previous entry, but still not easy)

6. Amy and Nick, from Gone Girl (the best modern mystery in recent memory)

7. Rachel, from The Girl on the Train (a close second in the category mentioned above)

8. Christopher, from The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time (easily the best way for anyone without autism to try to learn to empathize with someone with autism)

Thanks for posting this list, I don't have a solid understanding of the Unreliable Narrator, but I've been interested in learning more about it, I just haven't pursued it yet.

The only of the above list I know is Fight Club (haven't read it, just seen the movie).



Have you read The Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner? If so, would you consider Benjy, the narrator of the first chapter, an unreliable narrator?


Yes, Benjy is indeed an unreliable narrator, and in a somewhat similar vein to the Dog in the Night-Time book I mentioned. The Sound and the Fury was the first truly hard-to-read - and I do mean hard-to-read - book I ever experienced. It exposed me to how truly challenging literature could be.

The essence of an unreliable narrator is simple, really: it's a narrator who tells you his or her version of the truth, which often isn't the objective truth. An easy example of this comes from the grand-daddy of them all, The Catcher in the Rye. Holden is a sixteen year old who thinks pretty much everyone sucks, and he tells us so for two hundred pages. By the end, though, a careful reader should come to an obvious conclusion: it is Holden himself who truly sucks. No, it isn't his fault really, and no, we shouldn't ignore empathy for a broken kid, but the point remains the same. The more Holden tells us how right he is and how wrong everyone else is, the more he becomes a true unreliable narrator.

I read the Sound and the Fury about a year ago now. I remember at the time of reading it, and for awhile after, I thought it was stupid. I thought the way it was laid out made no sense, and starting the book with a chapter as confusing as chapter one was a terrible idea. But the farther away that read becomes, and as I reflect on it from time to time, I'm learning to appreciate it more and more. I'm actually getting to a point where I want to read it again. With so much of my first read focused on trying to figure out what's going on, I think a second would reveal a lot of new details and observations that I missed the first time around. What a tragic story too.

I have The Catcher in the Rye sitting on my book shelf, and I almost started reading it not to long ago, but something else came up and distracted me. I'll have to get that on my to read list soon. Along with the Dragonlance Novels I'm reading now, I've also recently started Atlas Shrugged, maybe I'll read the Catcher after that one.

Catcher's a good one, as long as you're not looking for a hero. There are no heroes in that story, but there are good, fully realized characters. Plus, Holden's a teenage protagonist that actually talks and thinks like a teenager, which is a rare thing in literature.

I agree entirely with your assessment of Faulkner's famous novel as well. I felt stupid reading it too; I later felt stupid for feeling stupid once I realized that the novel is meant to make you feel as out-of-depth and confused as poor Benjy does on a day-by-day, minute-by-minute basis.

As for Atlas Shrugged...*shrug*. Here's the thing: I've read everything Ayn Rand has written. Some of it can be awfully compelling too, with The Fountainhead as the most readable of the bunch. But in the end - and you'll see this eventually; everyone does - it all ends up largely being a Fox News-like infomercial for Rand's favored brand of political conservatism. If you're naturally super conservative already, you'll probably come away loving the book and thinking she's a genius, but if you're not, you'll probably feel that your time over the last 1000 pages would have been better spent listening to Rush Limbaugh for an hour or so and just calling it a day.

@Leons1707 Any "three weeks of pointlees internet squabbling" will stem from that tone You can paint it any way you like, but Kvothe is a Mary Sue by definition. If you like him, that's great. I don't.

@Raistlinmc I have nothing against unreliable narrators. I don't like a Mary Sue. I dislike braggarts as well, so double plus ungood for Kvothe. Even if he is more of a compulsive liar, he is still a Mary Sue.



Anyway, please don't discredit my taste in literature because I dislike one character in one book. Thanks.

I'll go ahead and say that I definitely wasn't discrediting anyone's taste in anything for disliking a single character in a single book. If I came off as otherwise, I apologize.

That said, nice allusion to 1984 there with your "double-plus ungood" comment, Eternal. Cheers and happy reading/gaming.

Yah, I almost wonder if that's why book 3 is taking so long. Perhaps Kvothe wasn't initially going to be an unreliable narrator until all the MS flak came out and made Rothfuss rethink things, and now he just can't figure out what to do with it all. I don't necessarily think that's really the case, but it's interesting to consider.

Hard to say, but Mary Sue or not, I really enjoyed the books. I'm not holding my breath for the third - something pretty major is clearly holding it up, whether it be something like what I mentioned above, general writer's block, or just plain disinterest on Rothfuss' part, so if it comes out some day, cool, I'm genuinely interested to see how it all turns out, but if not...eh.

As for the Malazan books, I read the first few and really wanted to like them because of all the good things I've heard about them over the years, but I just couldn't get into them. Too many characters, few of which really engaged me, and too much disjointed, un-interconnected storylines going on at once. I'm sure those are things that some people like so much about them, but I just couldn't really get into them.

Turtles All the Way Down by John Green.

It's the first book of his for me. Not very far into it but his writing style is enjoyable so far.








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