In a Grove

Unreliable Narration in "The Moonlit Road" and "In a Grove"

Both "The Moonlit Road" and "In a Grove" are murder mysteries that confront the reader with the question of truth in storytelling. The texts present the reader with several first person testimonies of a crime, or the witness' involvement in it, but give it no definite solution. No one is found guilty and hung; the reader has to decide, given the testimonies and his/her own reason, what happened in the Hetmans' estate and in the grove off the Yamashina stage road. Both texts challenge the reader to construct a definite story from several narratives of questionable reliability.

Both texts approach narrative with suspicion; it is a form of communication not to be trusted since it relies on narrators who can never be completely objective or disinterested. Each text presents only one relatively reliable narrator – Joel Hetman Jr. in "The Moonlit Road" and the woodcutter in "In a Grove". The rest of the narrators are not to be trusted. In "The Moonlit Road" the reader needs to rely on the statements of Casper Grattan, a man with no past, and of a ghost that does not think or feel like a human being any more. In "In a Grove" the reader realizes that each witness has...

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