Thursday 28 July 2016

Guest Post: Flynn Berry on Unreliable Narrators (Frances from Alys, Always)

TITLE: Under the Harrow
AUTHOR: Flynn Berry


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When Nora takes the train from London to visit her sister in the countryside, she expects to find her waiting at the station, or at home cooking dinner. But when she walks into Rachel's familiar house, what she finds is entirely different: her sister has been the victim of a brutal murder.

Stunned and adrift, Nora finds she can't return to her former life. An unsolved assault in the past has shaken her faith in the police, and she can't trust them to find her sister's killer. Haunted by the murder and the secrets that surround it, Nora is under the harrow: distressed and in danger. As Nora's fear turns to obsession, she becomes as unrecognizable as the sister her investigation uncovers.

Unreliable Narrators
by Flynn Berry

My novel, Under the Harrow, is about a woman, Nora, investigating her sister’s murder. As the police inquiry unravels, Nora becomes obsessive and reckless. Some of my favorite books have unreliable narrators, who are duplicitous, volatile, and thrilling.

Frances in Harriet Lane’s Alys, Always is a stellar heroine—active, wry, sharp as a tack. And her scheme is gripping: after being at the scene of a car accident, Frances becomes a part of the victim’s family’s life. The Kytes have a house in Highgate, “a very different London” from where Frances lives.

There’s a sense that she appreciates what the family has more than they do, whether it’s breakfast at the Wolseley or their house in the countryside. She certainly notices it all clearly: she describes a glass of their wine as “an intensely dark red that briefly stains the glass when you tilt it.”

The novel sustains a wonderful sense of dread, as though Frances might be caught at any moment—even when it’s not clear what her crime is exactly. And I found it thrilling to watch her maneuver and transform. It’s impossible not to root for Frances to get exactly what she wants.

Under the Harrow is out in ebook now.

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