Lauren Leto

Points of View

Posted in Uncategorized by Lauren Leto on September 25, 2009

Switching from one first-person narrative to another:

Some of my favorite books tell their stories from several different points of views. When successful, the different voices weave together in a way that creates a more complex tale.

Unfortunately, authors usually fail at this.

Case in point: Wildflowers by Lyah Beth Leflore. Leflore changes the first-person narrative point of view often. And by often, I mean, every other page. There is no character development. Just brief staccatos of stories. There are several different characters, which means that you forget who is where by the time that she returns to the character.


But when an author can do it right, it is wonderful.

Case in point: Three Junes by Julia Glass


I sneered at this book at first. Mainly because of the cover looking sophomoric or something.  I also didn’t know a thing about Julia Glass, the author. It was gift from my mother for Easter a couple of years back. I read it while I was in between books with no expectations and I couldn’t put it down. It shifts through different characters in a stealthy way. Glass doles out enough of a story to get you into it, but not too much that you forget where you were with the other characters. And she avoids Wildflower’s fatal mistake of switching around characters every other page.

Other good books that change first-person narrative point of views with success? Little Altars Everywhere. The Sound and the Fury.

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  1. Eric said, on September 25, 2009 at 9:59 pm

    I am highly opposed to POV switches and other modernist tricks. I love the hell out of some Faulkner, but I think you end up losing story when you change point of view and timeframe too often. He does alright with As I Lay Dying, less so with Light in August.

    Break it up in to chapters, give us decent-sized chunks, if you’re gonna do it. But I’m stodgy and a poor reader. The literary equivalent of a far-right conservative. You know the ones, with signs reading “Im a mavrik!” Cursing at children on my lawn.

  2. The Blind Assassin « Lauren Leto said, on February 15, 2010 at 10:34 am

    […] Posted in book porn by Lauren Leto on February 15, 2010 Last summer, I wrote about plots that can effectively switch viewpoints (and those that can’t). The Blind Assassin beautifully balances press clippings, first person […]

    • vafa said, on March 2, 2010 at 2:00 pm

      Hi, I am researching about the “Blind Assassin’s” narration. Actually, my thesis is about this. I live in Iran and I don’t have any sources. Can you please send me some free sources about the above topic? My E-mail adress is:

      Thanx alot

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