The unreliable narrator: definition and uses in literature

Literature offers writers and readers alike the opportunity to experiment with things that in real life usually lead to a series of unpleasant consequences. No, I’m not speaking of explosives wired to fast-ticking timers, of psychopaths on a killing spree, or of alien hordes devastating our already half devastated world–not necessarily at least. What I’m speaking of here has to do with the well known literary trope of the narrator, or rather, the unreliable narrator. This might look like a literary device of secondary importance, especially considering the gazillion super explosive things that authors can cook up in a book. However, the unreliable narrator is one of those essential tools that any writer must learn to master. Indeed, to realize this is enough to remember that many of the most acclaimed works of literature worldwide exploit this literary device.

Survive reading a bad book

survive reading a bad book - Peter Rey

It happens. You can read all the excerpts you want. You can ask your friends. You can have already read several other books by the same author. It doesn’t matter. If you love reading, and consequently actually read a lot instead of only saying so, sooner or later you’ll come across a book that sucks. It’s an inescapable truth. Like the ubiquitous nature of gravity–no, there’s no place where gravity is zero. Only places where you’re in a free fall, sorry for the digression. A book that sucks, I was saying. Well, most of the times this is fine. After all, as the Latin maxim goes, de gustibus non est disputandum, there’s no accounting for tastes. In fact, though you haven’t enjoyed the reading of that particular book many other readers still might. However, on some occasions you come across a book that not only sucks, but also makes you cringe …

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