The Moonstone by Wilkie Collins is a good illustration for the argument that every first person narrator is unreliable to some extent. Each person’s sThe Moonstone by Wilkie Collins is a good illustration for the argument that every first person narrator is unreliable to some extent. Each person’s story is going to reflect his or her own biases and will emphasize certain matters over others. Written in 1868, The Moonstone is considered one of the first detective novels ever written and is told by no less than 6 narrators. Despite being labeled sensational in its time, it is relatively tame by today’s standards. The crux of the story surrounds the presentation of a large, yellow diamond, rumored to be stolen from a Hindu idol, to an English girl for her 18th birthday. The diamond, called the Moonstone, is stolen that very night from the girl’s bedroom cabinet. Each narrator writes an account contributing his interpretation of the events from the Moonstone’s loss, to the discovery of the truth, and, finally, to the Moonstone’s resurfacing. Slowly over the course of the book, pieces of the puzzle start to fit together and previous ideas, theories, and characters are challenged or shown in new light. The Moonstone is an apt choice for a reader who wants to experience the beginnings of the mystery genre or for those who enjoy English domestic fiction. In addition to the whodunit, the book also offers a bit of romance and a cast full of distinctive, memorable, and realistically drawn characters....more
The Sound and the Fury is a story about the Compson family told in four parts: Benjy, Quenton, Jason, and 3rd person limited (Dilsey). It is the storyThe Sound and the Fury is a story about the Compson family told in four parts: Benjy, Quenton, Jason, and 3rd person limited (Dilsey). It is the story of a genteel southern family gradually disintegrating over time. The (almost?) last generation to live in the house comes apart from mental disability, greed, cruelty, selfishness, and lack of “honor.” The multiple narrators from different periods of time give the story a puzzle like effect—you try and fit different parts of the story into other parts of the story until at the end, you finally get an (almost) clear picture.
As much as I’d like to consider myself a fairly intellectual person, reading this classic did not expand my mind or enlighten me. It made me confused and then annoyed. It didn’t help that I started it as a book on tape, which I highly warn against. The first and second parts of the book are written in stream of consciousness that is difficult to read, much less listen (without the font change clues). When the third section gets more linear, I was finally ready for action, but didn’t get it. While reading/listening to this book, those around me heard me remark such things as “I do prefer reading books with plots” and “If other book are too easy to understand and you really want to challenge yourself, read this!” I think this is considered a classic because at the time it was written, the style was fairly inventive. However, I am not willing to waste hours trying to figure out what the hell is going on without a big payoff at the end. ...more