The “Novel of Recollections” – Narration as a Means of Coming to Terms with the Past

Petr Chalupský

Abstract


Among the large body of contemporary British novels dealing with the past, one specific genre can be identified, and called, the “novel of recollections” as it revolves around its first person narrator’s coming to terms with the often traumatic memories of his or her past life. This article focuses on this genre and its characteristic features, both formal and concerning the content, in John Banville’s The Sea (2005), Anne Enright’s The Gathering (2007) and Julian Barnes’s The Sense of an Ending (2011). Using the example of Graham Swift’s Tomorrow (2007), this article also shows that these features alone may not necessarily guarantee the text’s positive reception, suggests the main reasons why Swift’s novel failed with most readers and critics, and contemplates the novel of recollections’ future course and development.  

 


Keywords


Novel of recollections; memory; unreliable narrator; traumatic experience; added value

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References


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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7575/aiac.ijalel.v.5n.2p.90

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