The Narcon section of the book (pages 563-579) has already been discussed by a few other posters, but I wanted to address it in a somewhat basic and systematic way by looking at the parameters that define it. The way that I understand the Narcon is that it is the book’s narrator, or one of them. In the Narcon section, the book itself begins to explain how it’s been written and what its limits are, breaking the “fourth wall” between the narrator and the reader. Given this understanding, some of the parameters presented by the Narcon raised specific questions for me.
Parameter 1: MetaNarcons do not exist
If MetaNarcons don’t exist, what is the role of the author? Can the author be considered a MetaNarcon? According to the Narcon, a MetaNarcon would be some kind of narrative explanation of a Narcon. Since the Narcon is explained within the book, wouldn’t that mean that there is a MetaNarcon? Does that mean that the Narcon is its own MetaNarcon?
Parameter 2: Narcons cannot interact with other Narcons
If Narcons can’t interact with other Narcons, does that mean that there is only one Narcon for the entire book? The only issue with that is that on page 576, TF-Narcon9 says that it doesn’t know what happened to Xanther’s former therapist, Mrs. Goolsend, but the next page immediately explains what happens to her in another, bolded font. Is that another Narcon interjecting? Wouldn’t that indicate that they can interact?
Parameter 3: Narcons cannot interact with non-Narcons and vice-versa
The Narcon says that it can’t hear how the reader will respond or register “how or if my friendliness was received.” (564) However, I think that the reader (a non-Narcon) arguably can interact with the Narcon. Actually, I think that might be the point. Since there will be subsequent books that take reader input into account, the Narcon will, in a sense, be interacting with the reader. So does the relationship between the reader and the Narcon make Parameter 3 invalid? Does it mean that this Narcon has transcended the bounds of what it means to be a traditional narrator or a normal Narcon?
Parameter 4: All Narcons are bracketed
The braille brackets seem to have been established as an indication of the Narcon speaking. But if that’s the case, who is telling the rest of the story? TF-Narcon9 knows almost everything about what Xanther says and where she goes, and it seems to indicate that it is the one telling the stories about Xanther, Anwar, jingjing, Luther, etc. If it is telling the entire story, then it seems like the braille brackets are just its direct thoughts. If that’s not the case, does that mean that there is a “MetaNarcon” that is telling the entire story? Could the cover of the book be considered a “bracket” that contains the MetaNarcon?
Parameter 5: Form is not a Narcon limit
This might be the most confusing parameter. My understanding of the Narcon is that it is a type of narrator that is telling the stories of the characters. Does this parameter mean that the other volumes of The Familiar will come in different forms (it mentions musical, performative, etc.)? Or, does it mean that the Narcon will take other forms within the novel itself? This might be a stretch, but the Narcon mentions that it could take the form of an animal. Could the cat that Xanther rescues be an appearance of the Narcon?