There are no reliable narrators

“There are no reliable narrators,” said writer Matthew Klam recently.*

Even the stories we recite about ourselves shift with every telling, according to recent neurological studies (TED talk; no cite yet).

Add a dash of race, the legacy of slavery and questions of voice and you come to even thornier questions regarding authorship.

I’ll have some (more) rambling thoughts about this topic tomorrow. In the meantime, here is a link to the podcast, “Still Processing: Detroit and Confederate and Who Owns Stories about Blackness?” Two culture critics for the NYTimes, Wesley Morris and Jenna Wortham, attempt to answer some of these questions.

PS. I may’ve already shared this link. If so – forgive! It’s a signal of how good I found it!

* I haven’t read this novel yet but did hear the author interviewed by Teri Gross.

5 thoughts on “There are no reliable narrators

  1. Nancy

    Dee and Mo, yes to both of these ideas. Mo, you remind me of Barry Lopez’s book Crow and Weasel (one of my favorites). I was thinking that although I can’t really wrap my mind around this whole memory thing, as far as what is true or not. But I’ve recently begun to think about my own personal memories…they can be whatever they are, they are my truth! 🙂 Heehee, otherwise known as, I’m to old to remember or care! And sometimes a memory is just a story.

    1. deemallon

      To understand the pliability of memory, all you have to do is get siblings in a conversation about the past. It’ll sound like they came from completely separate families! And then there’s the impact of photos. I can’t say how many times I was unsure whether I’d merely seen a picture of something or actually been there. Yikes. And it’s all downhill from here.


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