Novels that Contain Both First Person and Third Person Narration
Join LibraryThing to post.
This topic is currently marked as "dormant"—the last message is more than 90 days old. You can revive it by posting a reply.
A more recent read was Nikolski, by Nicolas Dickner, which I got through the LT ER program. There are three main characters - the nameless first person and two others related to him in various ways. Overall, it was an enjoyable read. The author had a low-key, quirky style that I liked, but I kept wanting more first person sections. Mostly the focus is on the two third person characters. While the narrator sits at home and works in an odd bookshop, the other two get more action - traveling around the globe, going to school, stealing, having relationships etc. However, I was much more interested in the first person narrator because we get to hear his thoughts. Like Dickens, the author constantly cuts between his characters but because the chapters are so short, there's not much development - just quick descriptions of what happened in the past years or so (of course Bleak House was 900+ pages, so Dickens had much more to work with).
Also - #1 - are you interested in books with a 'framing story' motif? Some of those have third person/first person in the same book, but usually one person is telling a story to the other person. The narrative balance also tends to be mostly one over the other. Some examples - Interview with the Vampire or Melmoth the Wanderer. (Actually I think Melmoth has multiple types - stories in stories in stories...in stories.)
The first person narration suits the character, Nicholas - he's the most self-absorbed of the three protagonists and it's his actions that cause trouble and set the events of the novel in motion.
The second person narration was the strangest of course. It made me feel as if I was watching the character - Nicola, Nicholas's twin sister - from a position hovering just behind her head, following her around. Psychologically it's also quite odd, the narration describes Nicola's thoughts and actions, but it's not as intimate as first person, and not as objective as third person. It felt like another character who was remarkably perceptive was explaining Nicola's life to her.
The third person narration takes up the majority of the novel. Nicola disappears and Shadrach, her ex-boyfriend, has to enter the grotesque underground levels of the city to save her. You feel more distanced from Shadrach than you do from the other two characters, but it made him feel like the strongest, most well-adjusted character with whom the reader is able to face the horrors of the underworld.
The second section is told from the POV of the 'evil' brother. It works pretty well - the second section answers some of the questions from the first and the contrast between events shows that Robert Wringhim - the bad brother - is a very unreliable narrator. The first section portrays Wringhim as a despicable character so it's interesting to hear things from his perspective, though he's not shown to be any better in his own story.
In my mind, the main thing the difference provides is emphasis. Flagan's story is seen as the more important one, and Galloway's story is secondary. I found it interesting and entirely clear. Never had a problem with it.
The changes back & forth between 1st & 3rd person are clearly delineated, by change of chapter mostly, so are easy to follow.
I've almost finished "The Lace Reader", a most enjoyable 'read'.