7 Unputdownable Books Written from Multiple “First-Person” Perspectives

Below are seven books written from a multiple “first-person” perspective. More often than not, this perspective is employed when a narrative concerns some unusual or psychologically complex situation whereby it would be interesting for the reader to find out the reactions of more than one person to some event unfolding. Such a perspective can offer a valuable insight, and the use of unreliable narrators may heighten the intrigue.

I. The Beguiled/A Painted Devil [1966] by Thomas P. Cullinan

This historical fiction has more psychological depth than first meets the eye. It tells the story of a teacher and pupils at a girls’ school during the Civil War, who take in one injured soldier they spotted lying near their school. The author handles his multiple “first-person” perspectives brilliantly, showing the different personalities of the girls, as their self-interests and private desires start to collide with the concern for the soldier’s well-being. Sofia Coppola’s 2017 adaptation of this book missed the subtle points of Cullinan’s novel.

II. The Last House on Needless Street [2021] by Catriona Ward

This horror book’s multiple narrators are designed to unsettle the reader. First, there is heavy-drinking Ted, who lives in the last house on Needless Street. Then, there is his daughter Lauren, who is not allowed outside, and, lastly, comes the family’s religion-minded cat Olivia. It is an exciting, disturbing book that focuses on one missing girl, and filled with secrets and unreliable narrators.

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May 2020 Wrap-Up

Stoner [1965] – ★★★★1/2 

This American classic by John Williams is a great, even if heart-breaking read. It tells the story of Stoner, a university professor, as he finds his way through life. He means to lead a simple life, but certain tragedies and disappointments in it get the better of him. The book is beautifully-written and is a quiet meditation on life and its meaning. The book can be compared to Thomas Hardy’s Jude the Obscure [1895] and to Jack London’s Martin Eden [1909].  Continue reading “May 2020 Wrap-Up”