Wait, What Happened to the Narrator?

In addition to being fundamental, reading is incredibly subjective. Some people love first-person novels, while others find them annoyingly solipsistic. I happen to like books where the narrative voice keeps shifting, like David Mitchell’s jaw-droppingly brilliant Ghostwritten and Cloud Atlas, whereas another reader might get really tired of keeping track of who’s talking in any given chapter.

The only obvious rule in literature is that any approach works as long as you do it well. I couldn’t write an entire chapter in PowerPoint, but the always-amazing Jennifer Egan pulls it off in her latest, A Visit from the Goon Squad.

In my newest excerpt our main character doesn’t make a single appearance, since we’re suddenly reading blog posts that introduce a completely different character and his company. What do you think? Interesting or irritating? Or more to my earlier point, is this section strong enough that you don’t mind taking a narrative detour?


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