I came across a novel – you know one of these novels that you can’t put down -so I wrote this review of Infidelity by Stacey May Fowles:
From the very first sentence, “They say it takes a lot of nerve to leave someone at the altar” to “People who commit infidelity all seem to end up in the same shitty hotel room” I was hooked.
It was not only the plot that grabbed me. With a title like infidelity we already know what the plot is going to revolve around. In this case, a sought after, married writer with an autistic child and a soon to be married hairdresser.
That’s interesting enough. But the real sparkles of this novel is the writing. Stacey May Fowles not only writes beautiful sentences but she takes literary risks that wowed me. For example, shifting points of views so smoothly and artistically. As a writer, I was fascinated with her style of writing.
I’ve often read and been told by many writing teachers to stick to one point of view. Maybe you’ve been told the same thing. So I’m reading along her book, third person POV with the title chapters indicated as such:
(CHAPTER ONE), (CHAPTER TWO) and so on. Protagonists names are Ronnie (short for Veronica) and Charlie.
Then I get to ( CHAPTER FIVE)
“I write because it makes me feel interesting, wanted, desirable, wise. Because it’s an itch that won’t be scratched, but I just keep scratching and scratching until it bleeds…”
So now, I’m reading the novel in first person POV.
And then I get to another first person POV.
“Charlie was the sweetest kind of sickness from the moment I met him. He was the secret thrill of possible infidelity embodied in a package of ridiculous awkwardness.”
(CHAPTER SIX )
Back to third person POV. Until chapter ten. But don’t try to find a pattern to the shift between first and third person POV because there isn’t any.
Mixing the two POV’s offers both the intimate perspective of first person and the much wider perspective of third person. It works because Fowles uses the first person only with her two main characters.
This novel is not at all conventional. For example, when Ronnie makes a list of things she longs to do with Charlie but can’t do with him. The things are on the page numbered from
1) Read the Sunday paper with you….
20) Wake up together on Christmas morning.
Infidelity, which was published by ECW Press, a small Canadian publisher, was listed as a top one hundred novels of 2013 on Amazon.ca. Not bad for a not so well known writer, following her own rules.
What are your thoughts about shifting viewpoints in a novel?