"Outside a dog a book is man's best friend, inside a dog it is too dark to read!" -Groucho Marx========="The person, be it gentleman or lady, who has not pleasure in a good novel, must be intolerably stupid." -Jane Austen========="I don’t believe in the kind of magic in my books. But I do believe something very magical can happen when you read a good book."-JK Rowling========"I spend a lot of time reading." -Bill Gates=========“Ahhh. Bed, book, kitten, sandwich. All one needed in life, really.” -Jacqueline Kelly=========

Monday, April 15, 2019

TTT: Books with unusual narrators

Top Ten Tuesday: I am off the board today. Instead of the given topic I am highlighting books that I've enjoyed that have an unusual narrator(s).

1. The Book Thief by Marcus Zusak---
Narrator: Death
Why it worked: The book is set in Germany during WWII. It is an appropriate narrator considering the Holocaust and the millions of lives that were lost.

2. The Magic Strings of Frankie Presto by Mitch Albom
Narrator: Music
Why it worked: Frankie Presto is a gifted musician. Music sees everything in Frankie's life according to music and musical terms. Very clever.

3. Please Ignore Vera Dietz by A.S. King
Narrator/Point of View: In addition to the main narrator, Vera Dietz, there are shifts in the point of view so the readers hear from a pagoda (yes, a building) and Charlie, the dead friend.
Why it works: Vera Dietz is experiencing an emotional crisis about the death of her friend. We gain insight into her mindset from the different narrators.

4. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time by Mark Haddon
Narrator: An autistic boy
Why it works: The reader gains understanding about autism while the mystery is uncovered.

5. Room by Emma Donoghue
Narrator: a five-year-old child, Jack, who has lived his whole life in the "room."
Why it works: taking the point-of-view of a child who has lived his whole life imprisoned in a room with his mother. It allows us to see how remarkable his mother is to shelter him from the horrors of their situation.

6. The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz
Omniscient Narrator:  Sounds like "the mystery man in my head" (Shmoop)
Why it is unusual: The author felt that there was a need for an indirect narrator. The reason it is unusual is that the narrator doesn't reveal himself until nearly the end of the book leaving the reader to wonder who is speaking the whole time. We find out it is (SPOILER) Yunior, friend of Oscar Wao, but we're still amazed at how much he knows.

7. The Murder of Roger Ackroyd by Agatha Christie
Narrator: Dr. James Shepperd, called to assist Poirot solve the mystery
Why is this unusual: it ends up the narrator is the murderer. What a plot twist.

8. Before I Go to Sleep by S.J. Watson
Narrator: Christine, a woman who suffers from amnesia
Why is this unusual? Christine suffers from anterograde amnesia, which means that she forgets everything once she goes to sleep. Each morning she wakes up to a stranger in bed next to her, her husband.

9. Challenger Deep by Neal Shusterman
Narrator: Caden Bosch, a teen suffering with schizophrenia
Why is this unusual? Caden is an unreliable narrator who is living in both the present day and trapped inside his mind which manifests itself as a ship in the Marianas trench in the deepest part of the ocean. It is an eye-opening book about what it is like to live with schizophrenia.

10. Liar by Justine Larbalestier
Narrator: Micah, a compulsive liar
Why it is unusual: As the mystery unfolds the reader learns about Micah's life and history and about her boyfriend. However, at the end of each chapter we are reminded that she is a liar. It is very befuddling to read because one is never sure if what they just learned is true or not.

and the book I am reading right now...

11. Voices: The Final Hours of Joan of Arc by David Elliott
The narrator shifts with each new poem: Joan, a sword, a crown, her father, virginity, her dress... to name a few. Each is written in verse using a first-person narration. One has to check and recheck the title to be reminded who is speaking.

I was just reviewing a few of my past reviews and I stumbled upon this one and wanted to make sure that you knew about it, too.

12. Far, Far Away by Tom McNeal
Narrator: A ghost
Why this works: The ghost is Jacob Grimm who is stuck between life and death so he can recognize a good fairy tale when he sees one.



  1. Authors can do so many fascinating and creative things with their narrators and points of view.

  2. Great book choices, I've never thought about the fact that so many of them had "unusual" narrators.

    1. Me either. Until I decided to create this list after recently reading The Magical Strings of Frankie Presto where the narrator is MUSIC, I thought I'd better explore other books with unusual narrators. I think next time I would expand it to unreliable narrators. It was hard to come up with a full list for this one.

  3. Fabulous list, Anne. I really like books with unusual narrators. My TTT

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  5. Books with Unusual Narrators would make a great prompt for Top Ten. You should share this idea with the Artsy Reader Girl. Quite inspired.

    Thank you for sharing these with us. I'd love to hear your thoughts on my list.

  6. Yes, The Book Thief was a great read.

    Here is our Top Ten Tuesday.

  7. The Curious Incident of the Dog in Night-Time was such an amazing book. I hope it becomes a film someday.

    My TTT.

    1. I've seen the play by the same name. It was very creative. I liked it a lot.

  8. The Book Thief is a great choice for an unusual narrator. Death was so interesting!

    1. My first crack at the book I found death to be very off-putting. Then, on my second try, I settled in and realized Death wasn't a villain but a necessary source of help, actually.

  9. Love this topic idea, and I loved all six of the ones from here I've read. I read Roger Ackroyd in middle school, and I STILL remember how shocked I was. That one and Endless Night. I've read literally hundreds of mysteries since then, if not thousands, but I still remember how both of those twisted. I just bought "Liar" for my daughter for her birthday, and I will read it as soon as she lets me!

    1. I don't know the Endless Night. Who wrote it? I hope your daughter likes LIAR. I think to appreciate it she will need to be able to suspend her disbelief. Let me know what she thinks.

  10. Room and The Book Thief are a couple of my favorites.

    1. It has been a long time since I read The Book Thief. I think I am due for a reread.

  11. I loved The Murder of Roger Ackroyd so much! It totally got me.

    1. Me, too. I kept thinking that something just wasn't adding up but I couldn't figure out what.

  12. Love this. I definitely love unique narrators and Death narrating The Book Thief was one of my favorite aspects of it.

    1. Mine, too. It helped keep death in focus during the story, too.

  13. Room sounds interesting. These are unusual narrators...

  14. I loved both The Book Thief and Challenger Deep, both great books with narrators that really work for the story.
    My TTT: https://jjbookblog.wordpress.com/2019/04/16/top-ten-tuesday-207/

  15. LIAR sounds like it would be a very challenging read, given that situation!

  16. Oh my, this is such a great take on this week's TTT AND a bunch of new books and narrators for me as well!

  17. I haven't read any of these, but they all look amazing. I love books with unusual narrators.

    Ash @ JennRenee Read

  18. Despite its acclaim and the MANY good things I read about The Book Thief, I don't think it'll be one I pick up. It just doesn't seem like a "me book." But who knows! Never say never, right!? :) Thanks for visiting Finding Wonderland.


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