Looking for fiction with a change in POV, both character and narrative.
November 15, 2016 8:25 PM   Subscribe

I'm looking for any novels or short stories that feature both a change in character point of view along with a change in narrative point of view.

For example, chapter 1 features Tom in third person but chapter 2 switches to Sally in first person, and so on.
posted by perhapses to Media & Arts (32 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
 
Sometimes a Great Notion by Ken Kesey does this.
posted by aka burlap at 8:28 PM on November 15, 2016 [1 favorite]


Gone Girl.
posted by raccoon409 at 8:39 PM on November 15, 2016 [2 favorites]


You'll see it in Justine Larbalestier's Magic or Madness. I'd imagine it's true of the whole trilogy, but I haven't picked up the other books yet.
posted by xenization at 8:40 PM on November 15, 2016


The Secret Place by Tana French.
posted by holborne at 8:45 PM on November 15, 2016 [1 favorite]


An Instance of the Fingerpost by Iain Pears.
posted by jadepearl at 8:55 PM on November 15, 2016 [3 favorites]


NL Jemison's recent series (starting with The Fifth Season) has this in spades.
posted by steady-state strawberry at 9:06 PM on November 15, 2016 [3 favorites]


Infinite Jest! Though that's just the very tip of the iceberg of all the crazy shit that goes down in that book.
posted by actionstations at 9:36 PM on November 15, 2016


The Newsflesh series by Mira Grant.
posted by jenfullmoon at 10:07 PM on November 15, 2016


Charles Dickens's Bleak House is a premiere example of this, switching between 3rd person omniscient and first person POV of the magnificent Miss Esther Summerson.
posted by everything's coming up milhouse at 10:13 PM on November 15, 2016 [1 favorite]


The Nooriabad File.
posted by aqsakal at 10:20 PM on November 15, 2016




Radio Free Albemuth, by Philip K. Dick, has an entirely different first-person narrator for its second half
posted by thelonius at 3:24 AM on November 16, 2016


Complicity, by Iain Banks, has thus, along with a rare 2nd person viewpoint.
posted by It's Never Lurgi at 3:59 AM on November 16, 2016


A Visit from the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan.
posted by amarynth at 4:06 AM on November 16, 2016 [2 favorites]


Wilkie Collins The Moonstone and Women in White, and Bram Stoker's Dracula are all told using different POVs, to interesting effect.
posted by low_horrible_immoral at 4:11 AM on November 16, 2016


Fates and Furies by Lauren Groff does the change in character POV part, but I can't remember if it has the change in narrative point of view.
posted by SoftRain at 4:52 AM on November 16, 2016 [2 favorites]


The Distance by Helen Giltrow. There are three main characters and the story is told in first person for one character and third person for the other two.
posted by fuse theorem at 5:34 AM on November 16, 2016


The Truth According to Us by Annie Barrows

- Two POVs - one first person, one third - and an interlaced epistolary component.

Where'd You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple

- I think this has a main dominant POV but it interweaves emails, documents, flashbacks, and various people's perspectives on the same event.
posted by danabanana at 5:49 AM on November 16, 2016


Two Girls, Fat and Thin by Mary Gaitskill
posted by dizziest at 7:05 AM on November 16, 2016


Every Kind of Wanting by Gina Frangello which I read and fucking loved.
posted by lyssabee at 7:18 AM on November 16, 2016


Seconding Sometimes A Great Notion. Also, if you are only familiar with the movie version of One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, the narrator in the book is the Chief, who is very, very delusional, a significant shift from the movie point of view.
posted by rtimmel at 7:24 AM on November 16, 2016 [1 favorite]


Many (perhaps even most or all?) of Elizabeth George's Lynley novels use this technique. Often the initial chapters will be told from the perspective of the person involved in the crime/central issue, then later chapters are told from the perspective of the detectives (the series' recurring characters). In some cases, chapters switch off between recurring characters (Lynley, Barbara Havers, Helen, etc.). It's one of the things I really like about the series and the writing--you're constantly getting different insights into the story and people's perspectives and motivations.
posted by msbubbaclees at 7:51 AM on November 16, 2016


Brief History of the Dead - Chapters alternate between the experiences of several people living in a limbo-like City after dying and a woman struggling to survive at a remote research station in Antarctica.

He, She, It - Chapters alternate between Shira, a woman living in a dystopian future America, and the tale of the Golem of Prague.

The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing, Traitor to the Nation, Volume I: The Pox Party - First half of the book is from Octavian's point of view - a young African American boy living during the beginning of the American Revolution. Second half are secondhand accounts in epistolary form of him escaping a dire situation and eventually ending up in the Colonial Army.

Left Hand of Darkness
- "The novel is framed as part of the report that Ai sends back to the Ekumen after his time on Gethen, and as such, suggests that Ai is selecting and ordering the material. Ai narrates ten chapters in the first person; the rest are made up of extracts from Estraven's personal diary and ethnological reports from an earlier observer from the Ekumen, interspersed with Gethenian myths and legends."
posted by jammy at 8:34 AM on November 16, 2016


Faulkner's As I Lay Dying is a classic example of this.
posted by rmless at 10:17 AM on November 16, 2016 [1 favorite]


Both A Study in Scarlet and The Valley of Fear by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle switch from 1st person narration by Dr Watson in the first half to 3rd person omniscient narration in the second half.
posted by darchildre at 10:24 AM on November 16, 2016


It's dated now, but I remember The Man by Irving Wallace being a spellbinding, perspective-shifting read. Also, Anthem.
posted by DrAstroZoom at 10:52 AM on November 16, 2016


Jo Walton's Thessaly trilogy (The Just City, The Philosopher Kings and Necessity) uses this, to the frustration of some readers.
posted by obtuser at 11:23 AM on November 16, 2016


I came to suggest As I Lay Dying as well. It's one of my favourites.
posted by guster4lovers at 2:21 PM on November 16, 2016


Atonement does a brilliant job of this. But, IIRC, the narrator stays the same although the perspective changes. Which is what makes it so brilliant.
posted by SLC Mom at 2:42 PM on November 16, 2016


Also, The Book Thief, I think.
posted by SLC Mom at 2:43 PM on November 16, 2016


And the Mountains Echoed by Khaled Hosseini
posted by Anna Jean at 6:17 PM on November 16, 2016


Also Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell
posted by Anna Jean at 7:33 PM on November 16, 2016


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