POV in We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves and The Familiar

Their narration styles are mirror images of each other- We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves follows three main characters, but the work only has a single narrator and limited point-of-view. The Familiar has multiple points-of-view and narrators, but no connected plot.

We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves tells the story of three siblings. Rosemary is the only narrator. “…still everything I’ve said is all about them, a chalk outline around the space where they should have been.” This book could have easily been told in multiple points of view, if not from Fern’s POV, then at least Lowell’s. But instead, Fowler decides to keep it only in Rosemary’s POV, which keeps the reader in the unreliability of her mind.

The Familiar has nine narrators whose lives do not intersect in any obvious way other than the fact that they all hear an inhuman howl. Because of this, we do not get new perspectives on the same events. This is purposeful, certainly, and if I had to guess, I would say that all these narrators will come together throughout the rest of the series, and that this volume serves as the introduction to them, showing these people at their separate starting points.

Despite the fact that the author made radically different choices regarding narration, the reader does not get differing perspectives in either book.

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