Monday, April 30, 2012

Second,Third, Omniscient?

Recently, I listened to and enjoyed this book:

BLINK & CAUTION, by Tim Wynne-Jones

It had some unusual Point of View choices in it, including some omniscient moments.

The story used limited third, dual perspectives most of the time, but he used the pronoun "you" in the narrative voice, not to address the reader or the character directly, but when talking about the character's thoughts and actions. As in:

"You go to open the door, but..."


"You're thinking, of course, this kind of crap always happens to you..."

(these examples are made up, not from the book)

I read a few reviews on Goodreads. One person, Margaret, said: "...the tight third person switches to an omniscient view in which the narrator actually addresses the characters."

Yeah, maybe I do remember a few of these times, advice-giving moments like:

 "Blink, you should know better than to trust..."

(another made-up example, and not a very good one...the ones in the book were more subtle).

Still, I didn't feel like the character could really "hear" the advice. Just us readers, in a hypothetical way. And that still doesn't explain the "you" examples above.

Another person, called it second person POV, but I thought that was when you address the reader directly, and this book doesn't do that.

What about you? What do you think? Ever seen this before? What would you call it? 


  1. I can't remember the last time I've read second-person or a "you" book. Personally, I find it pretty jarring. I think you would still call that usage second person? Now I'm not sure!

  2. I pretty much second everything that Rebecca just wrote. I too find it 'jarring' whenever I've seen a story written this way. It feels like an unnatural way to tell a story, you know?

  3. Rebecca and Jaime- I think listening was an advantage for me here. The narrator did a good job of reading the voice. It probably would have been more jarring (and even confusing)reading it on my own.

  4. Very interesting. I used "you" in my first project (in a very consistent sense) where the mc broke the fourth wall and addressed the reader, but I've never heard of this used before. I'm actually very intrigued. May have to check this one out. :)