Is Xanther the heroine?

In The Familiar, much has been made about how confusing and nontraditional the novel actually is. After the “Narcon” section indicates that the Narcons are a presence hanging over Xanther that catalogues everything she does, I started to wonder if the reader is seeing the world as Xanther would see it. Are we reading this book from the perspective of Xanther’s fragmented psyche?

In each individual section we get sections of narrative from each characters unique perspective that can (sometimes more than others) make reading comprehension difficult. Is this fragmented style with untranslated and crossed out text, along with no clear view of how the characters relate to each other in the world of the novel, indicative of Xanther’s disorder? The Narcon chapter seems to indicate that Xanther has an important purpose, and after Astair’s revelation of her thesis, is the purpose of the novel to posit the question “whether or not to imagine what could never exist at all might create behavior which never could have existed before”? (pg 450) Do the Narcons, which seem to exist in a state of nonexistence, aim to create such behavior as Xanther’s?


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