The Art of Perspective: Who Tells the Story by Christopher Castellani

By Christopher Castellani

A author can have a narrative to inform, a feeling of plot, and robust characters, yet for all of those to return jointly a few key questions has to be replied. What shape should still the narrator take? An omniscient, invisible strength, or one--or more--of the characters? yet in what voice, and from what vantage element? find out how to make a decision? averting prescriptive directions or arbitrary ideas, Christopher Castellani brilliantly examines a few of the methods writers have solved the the most important point-of-view challenge. by way of unpacking the narrative innovations at play within the paintings of writers as varied as E. M. Forster, Grace Paley, and Tayeb Salih, between many others, he illustrates how the author's cautious manipulation of distance among narrator and personality drives the tale. An insightful paintings through an award-winning novelist and the creative director of GrubStreet, The paintings of Perspective is an engaging dialogue on an issue of perpetual curiosity to any author.

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To these organizations and individuals we offer our heartfelt thanks. Published by Graywolf Press 250 Third Avenue North, Suite 600 Minneapolis, Minnesota 55401 All rights reserved. org Published in the United States of America ISBN 978-1-55597-726-9 Ebook ISBN 978-1-55597-915-7 2 4 6 8 9 7 5 3 1 First Graywolf Printing, 2016 Library of Congress Control Number: 2015952174 Cover design: Scott Sorenson for Michael Each of us narrates our life as it suits us. —Elena Ferrante Contents Introduction: To Seeing Each Other Again Toward a Narrative Strategy The Story(ies) of a Marriage Try to See Things My Way The Position of Power Shifting Perspective THE ART OF PERSPECTIVE WHO TELLS THE STORY Introduction: To Seeing Each Other Again I want to tell you what happened on the way to dinner.

Actually, I’m thinking I’m not even me anymore, that I’d be much more interesting as the woman’s former lover, one of her men she thought was dead. She walks into the mission and there I am, and it’s sweet at first, poignant, and then we get high, and then I kill her, and it’s an accident but that’s not how it looks, and then … Stories are easy. We’re all sitting on park benches with loaves of bread, stories coming at us like pigeons. We’re as hungry for the stories as the stories are to be told.

It’s the degree of retrospection, and her level of diction, and the presence or absence of footnotes; it’s a choice as seemingly small as whether or not to stick a name under the chapter heading or let the reader figure out who’s narrating. The narrative strategy doesn’t determine every choice an author makes in a work, but every choice an author makes must answer to the narrative strategy. Its greatest virtues are consistency and internal resonance; its archenemy is the arbitrary. The mockumentary style of the American television show The Office is a big part of its narrative strategy.

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