Books with a Twist: Unreliable Narrators | MPHPL 

Books with a Twist: Unreliable Narrators

Books with a Twist: Unreliable Narrators

When reading, can you really trust your narrator?  Sometimes yes.  Other times, though, you may begin to question the one telling the story based on a clue here or an odd remark there.  In these cases, you may be dealing with what’s known as an unreliable narrator.

Unreliable narrators have been used in stories for ages and continue to be a popular tool used by authors to add a little mystery to their works.  These types of books are often written from the first-person point of view.  The deceptiveness of the narrator may be intentional, such as lying about people or events within the story or leaving important information out of their telling.  Other times, though, an unreliable narrator may simply be naïve in their rehashing of events.  In these cases it may be due to the age of the narrator, background, or mental illness.  Whatever their reasons, an unreliable narrator can take you on a journey that causes you to question their trustworthiness all the way until the very end!

Here are some stories with unreliable narrators that are worth a try:

American Psycho – Bret Easton Ellis

Atonement – Ian McEwan

Behind Her Eyes – Sara Pinborough

The Catcher in the Rye – J.D. Salinger

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time – Mark Haddon

Fight Club – Chuck Palahniuk

The Girl on the Train – Paula Hawkins

Gone Girl – Gillian Flynn

The Good Sister – Sally Hepworth

Life of Pi – Yann Martel

Never Let Me Go – Kazuo Ishiguro

One of Us Is Lying – Karen McManus

Rebecca – Daphne du Maurier

Room – Emma Donoghue

Shutter Island – Dennis Lehane

We Have Always Lived in the Castle – Shirley Jackson

We Need to Talk about Kevin – Lionel Shriver

We Were Liars – E. Lockhart


For additional suggestions, check out Book Riot’s “50 Must-Read Books with Unreliable Narrators.”


Additional Resources:

“Liar, Liar – Unreliable Narrators,” Burlington County Library System

“What Is an Unreliable Narrator? 4 Ways to Create an Unreliable Narrator in Writing,” MasterClass

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