Top Ten Books Featuring Multiple Narrators or Points of View

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I tweaked the topic a bit this week—it was supposed to be “Top Ten Books That Feature Characters Who _________________”—but I don’t think I could have come up with ten single characters who all had something in common, aside from something obvious like “characters who are female” (and we’ve definitely done favorite female characters already!). Anyway, here are some of my favorite books that are narrated by multiple characters!

  1. It – Stephen King. It is mostly narrated in third person limited, focusing on one “Losers Club” member at a time, but never drifting into first person narration except during Mike Hanlon’s interludes.
  1. Reconstructing Amelia – Kimberly McCreight. Narrated both through Amelia’s journal leading up to her supposed suicide as well as through her mother’s eyes in first person as she tries to figure out what happened to make her daughter take such a drastic step, Reconstructing Amelia has a really interesting structure.
  1. Watchers – Dean Koontz. As is his trademark, Watchers focuses on several different characters, all through third person limited narration. One of the cool things is that it’s not only the “good guys” narrating, either.
  1. The Stand – Stephen King. Much like It, The Stand is narrated in third person limited by many characters. The biggest difference is that in It, the narrators are all main characters; in The Stand, the narrators vary from minor to major characters.
  1. The Girl on the Train – Paula Hawkins. I didn’t actually expect this to be narrated by more than one character, and for the most part it does focus on Rachel’s narration, but there are chapters with Megan’s journal interspersed as well as chapters from Anna, Rachel’s ex-husband’s new wife. Both minor narrators add quite a lot to the story.
  1. Carrie – Stephen King. Lots of Stephen King on here today, but he has some really interesting narration styles! Carrie in particular is really cool, with regular narration (third person limited) as well as newspaper clippings and court transcripts from after all the shit that goes down at the end.
  1. The Martian – Andy Weir. Narrated mostly in first person by Mark Watney, an astronaut stranded on Mars, there are also occasional interludes from NASA and Watney’s crew members who are en route to Earth after evacuating Mars during a dust storm.
  1. Silver Sparrow – Tayari Jones. I actually didn’t expect this, but narration switches in the middle of the book from Dana, the “illegitimate” daughter, to “Charisse,” the “legitimate” daughter. At first I wasn’t down with this, but I ended up liking Jones’s choice to change the narration. It certainly made things interesting!
  1. The Glittering World – Robert Levy. Each of the four sections of this novel is narrated by one of the four main characters. Definitely an interesting narrative choice, but it fits here where it probably wouldn’t in many other stories.
  1. Dark Places – Gillian Flynn. Narrated mostly by Libby Day (in the current day), whose family was murdered when she was seven, Dark Places is also narrated in the days leading up to the murder by Libby’s mother and her brother, Ben, who is later convicted of the murders.

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9 thoughts on “Top Ten Books Featuring Multiple Narrators or Points of View

  1. Enjoyed your post. Just a brief comment re The Martian: what makes the plot work is that Whatney’s first person narrative is in the form of his journal entries, thus preserving the narrative tension regarding whether he survives or if we are reading his recovered journal.

    • Yes, great point! Thanks for bringing that up. I meant to mention that his narration was through journal entries and think I did indicate as much elsewhere, like in my review, but forgot to mention it here. Thanks for stopping by!

    • Ooooh yes good addition! I forgot about that one. I read it so long ago! Did you read the sequels too or just the one? I think I actually saw the movie first, and then read the first book.

  2. Great list, the only one I’ve read is Dark Places, and I have to admit whilst I enjoyed it, it was a little too creepy even for me (and I usually love creepy books!). I have Reconstructing Amelia and The Girl on The Train on my TBR list. I love books with multiple narrators, most of the ones I read are Jodi Picoult’s, all her books have multiple narrators.

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