Narcons and Art Speigleman: Readers Beware
Narcons are the editing characters in The Familiar. Art Speigleman is the author and illustrator of Maus and therefore the editor. While Art Speigleman is a real character in the real world, he is also the main character in the graphic novel. So the Narcons edit the narrative as it is happening but Speigleman edits his narrative to influences his readers as well.
The levels of narration:
Speigleman is the writer/illistraor of the novel.
Speigleman is the main character of the book.
Speigleman the character mentions Speigleman the author, breaking the forth wall and revealing inner thoughts of the author.
Therefor the main character is unreliable because he is influenced and edited to influence the reader.
The same applies to the Narcons in a way:
Mark Z. Danielewski is the author of the novel.
The Narcons edit the narration and characters as the narration happens.
Narcons edit other Narcons.
The same applies. The Narcons, and therefore the characters, are unreliable due to the influence of the Narcons to influence the reader.
In both of these books, the readers must read with caution. The author of the texts uses narrative techniques to hide information and convey certain emotions, pushing readers in the narrative direction the author wants. This can be confusing to the readers if they do not do close readings. If reading too fast, the reader can miss key things, such as: The Familiar‘s link of the loss of Tai Li’s cat but the gain of Xanther’s cat. In Maus, when Art is on the porch with his wife and his father, an Auschwitz survivor, is moaning in his sleep, his wife comments how awful that must have been and Art sprays pesticide. The more appalling parallel is that they had just been speaking about the gas chambers of Auschwitz. If the reader simply reads through the text without doing close readings, they will be influenced by the editing characters and miss a few key facts and images. Readers beware and read with caution.