The Unreliable Narrator

The unreliable narrator is a device that draws the reader into the story by having them question the trustworthiness of the narrator’s account. Paula Hawkins makes use of this style in her chart-topping novel, now also a film, The Girl on the Train. Rachel, the chief narrator, has problems, including a reliance on alcohol. This causes her difficulties with her memory and so she can’t be certain of the truth of what she writes. No spoilers, but I felt to fully understand the reasons for her state of mind, by the end of the book. In reality this would have been far more complex than Hawkins expresses throughout the main text. Interestingly, The Girl on the Train is also presented in a multi-narrative format. My interest also grew when I found myself questioning the reliability of her ex-husband’s new partner’s account. I’m not going to say anything about the third narrator but if you haven’t yet read the book, even if you’ve watched the film, I recommend it for light entertainment.