7 Books With Strange Narrative Structures

I’ve always loved books that challenge me; books that make me re-think the ordinary; books that teach me something about writing. Usually those are the books with strange narrative structure.

By ‘strange’, I mean non-linear. Or maybe just told in an unexpected way. Books with time jumps, or multiple perspectives, or cross-mediums.

Here are 7 recommendations for books with strange structure.

A Few Of My All-Time Favourites

A Visit From the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan

Three white-spined books by Jennifer Egan on a white sheet

Books by Jennifer Egan! Image by Kyra Thomsen

The Plot

Follows Sasha Blake and her music executive boss Bennie Salazar (and many, many side characters) as they navigate life, family, identity, adolescence, and all of that stuff!

The Structure

Chapters of short stories with characters that interweave throughout the entire novel. There’s also a chapter that’s told as a PowerPoint presentation which is just as amazing as it sounds.

The Secret History of Twin Peaks by Mark Frost

The backwards title of The Secret History on a white sheet

The Secret History of Twin Peaks by Mark Frost. (Altered to appear backwards!) Image by Kyra Thomsen.

The Plot

The FBI discovers a dossier of documents detailing strange happenings in the United States, from colonial times to present day. Conspiracies abound!

The Structure

Shows all the documents (photographs, letters, interview transcripts) alongside the commentary of FBI agent T.P. in the margins of the book.

The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger

I didn’t include this one in my video but it’s definitely a fave and deserves a mention!

The Time Travelers Wife on top of an open book

The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger. Image by Kyra Thomsen.

The Plot

Clare falls in love with Henry, a time traveler. They’re destined to be together, but time has other plans.

The Structure

Each chapter jumps between past and present in no real logical order as Clare and Henry fall in love, lose each other, and find each other throughout their lives.

What Are Your Recommendations?

There are so many books that have ‘strange’ narrative structure and I’ve obviously missed some! What are your favourites? Comment below!

I love these kinds of books and am always on the lookout for more to add to my TBR.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s