May 09 2010
Blog post on the subject of the Young Narrator on the Guardian’s Books site by Australian writer Evan Maloney.
Includes my choices of Young Narrators (Huck Finn, Holden Caulfield and Christopher Boone) and also some others which perhaps do not strictly fit into the category, because either they’re older or they turn out to be writing from an adult perspective (therefore they’re only retrospectively Young Narrators). In these latter examples, the voices may appear to be young but their choice of concepts, concerns & language constructions, not to mention knowledge about the world and their retrospective writing stance, reveal they are not in fact using the true voice of a Young Narrator.
Of course, writing is all smoke and mirrors, it’s all about creating an authentic voice but this often means utilising every tool and technique available to elicit an emotional reaction. And, as Maloney says, “challenges of writing in the voice of a young narrator are off-puttingly severe”.
Evan Maloney’s new book is Tofu Landing.