Ordinary People

Technique

Guest's chapters alternate between Conrad and Calvin, in third person limited omniscient narration entirely in the present tense. Readers are privy to their thoughts but not those of the other characters in the scene, not even Cal or Conrad if they happen to intrude. The narrative frequently goes into patches of italicized interior monologue and stream of consciousness.

The novel also circles around both the accident that killed Buck and Conrad's suicide attempt. In the initial chapters they are both only referenced or discussed in the most general terms; later on we learn more details and finally get brief flashbacks from Conrad.


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