I am an unreliable narrator

An unreliable narrator is a narrator we can’t trust. Patrick Rothfuss’ Kingkiller Chronicles features one such narrator; we have no idea whether Kvothe the Bloodless is telling the truth. It is up to you and I, the readers, to allocate whatever quantity of our trust we feel is appropriate. Another example of an unreliable narrator is provided by Ursula le Guin:

“Henry James’s “The Turn of the Screw” is a classic example. We’d better not believe everything the governess tells us, and we must look through what she says for what she leaves out. Is she deceiving us or herself?”

The latter question gets to the very heart of narration, not just in the media, but in our own minds. For example, we could easily say that the unreliability of a narrator–any narrator—is caused as much by the omission of truth as it is by the inclusion of lies. 

Look past storytelling. Consider the tales we tell ourselves about our lives. How do we know that we are reliable narrators? How do we know that it is safe to trust our recollections and reconstruction of the past? What makes us so confident, so certain, that the version of events we take as canon is the truth, instead of the version of events that is most satisfying and soothing to our own conception of self? Maybe, in the hall of mirrors that is our own psychology, the truth and the version of events that cast us in the most angelic light are one and the same? Or perhaps what we call truth is merely a reflection that exaggerates our merits and casts a shadow on our flaws? I don’t know because I myself am an unreliable narrator.