Can anyone recommend some good first person fiction?

I’ve been jotting down ideas for a novel over the past year, but am looking for inspiration to start writing it. Can anyone recommend any novels written in first person that exist in a fictional though fully realized world? The world could be either fantastical or our world with signifcant tweaks. Preferably, the recommendations wouldn’t be set in the distant future or outerspace.

Thanks for the help,

Don’t think you could do better than Nick Carraway of The Great Gatsby for first person narrators. That’s if you wanna go the lucid route. If you want to see the magic you can make with multiple narrators, Faulkner’s The Sound and the Fury or As I Lay Dying will make yer head spin, yo. Heavy reads, though. Dense, dense.

The best 1st-person suspense novel I can think of is probably The Big Clock by Kenneth Fearing. Awesome, awesome book.

One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest by Ken Kesey.

Story Of My Life by Jay McInnerny (interestingly, male author, female first-person narrator).

The Murder of Roger Ackroyd by Agatha Christie (female author, male first-person narrator).

All the Sherlock Holmes stories.

I think it is called Johnny Got his Gun, where the WWI soldier gets his face blown off.

The Nero Wolfe books by Rex Stout are all told from the viewpoint of Archie Goodwin.

Middlesex, by Geoffrey Eugenides.

Lots of mysteries use first person; it allows the author reveal things to the reader in the same time frame they’re revealed to the character, allowing you to uncover the mystery with him.

Some include

Dashiell Hammet’s Continental Op
Bill Pronzini’s “Nameless Detective.”
Raymond Chandler’s Philip Marlowe

Robert A. Heinlein’s “Friday” and “I Will Fear No Evil,” among others.
Gene Wolfe’s “Book of the New Sun.”
Lawrence Sterne’s “Tristam Shandy”

Albert Camus, The Fall. I’ll confess my pro-Camus bias up front, but it is my favorite first person work.

It’s a convention of private eye stories that they are all written in the first person.

Nowadays, most “cozies” or less hard-boiled mysteries are also written in the first person. The idea is the same: to give the detective a personality through his or her voice and observations. And it’s not quite as important to hide the clues as it was in the days of the formal whodunit.

Sometimes it feels like every famous novel ever written is in the first person, starting with Robinson Crusoe and Don Quixote. Note that one is a personal reminiscence and the other is a Watson-like narrator describing the adventures of another.

Huckleberry Finn wouldn’t be the same with Huck’s unique voice. Hemingway said that all American literature starts with Huck Finn, so it isn’t surprising to see him use the first person in such books as A Farewell to Arms.

Big books can go either way, using many viewpoints to convey a depth of experience or a single voice that comments on history passing. Some major ones among the latter include Gunter Grass’ The Tin Drum, Russell Banks’ Cloudsplitter, Salman Rushdie’s Midnight’s Children, and of course Vladimir Nabokov’s Lolita, a book impossible to imagine in other than the first person.

For high fantasy novels written from a first person perspective, I would recommend the Farseer Trilogy, by Robin Hobb. The three books are Assassin’s Apprentice, Royal Assassin, and Assassin’s Quest. The narrator is a bastard in the royal house who gets caught up in courtly intrigue and dangerous magic. Other than that series, though, most first person fantasy that I’ve read has been pretty mediocre. Often the problem is that the central character is just too boring.

You could try the recs in this thread

If you want good first person narration, I can say that Stephen Brust writes some of the best written. Any book narrated by Vlad Taltos is guaranteed to have excellent personality and believability, despite the fantasy world Vlad lives in. Really great and original first person narration.

I really enjoy the narrative voice in Crawford Killian’s Lifter. I have to pull that one out and re-read it every couple of years.

Whose song is Sung by Frank Shaefer. It is in the perspective of a dwarf that has a few terrible adventures and then earns a friend of Beowulf, traveling with him and reporting of his adventure. A really good read with a bit of pathos.

Err, that should be Schaefer, preview is my friend.

Kindred by Octavia Butler

Tales of the City, by Armistead Maupin.

Thanks everyone. I have quite a list to get going on.

The Chronicles of Amber by Roger Zelazny are all first person.

I’m currently reading The Life of Pi . Though the character/narrator is from 1970s India, it might as well be another world because he grew up in a zoo and most of the novel (I won’t use spoilers since this is on the back of the book) occurs on a lifeboat shared with a wild tiger while the character attempts to make sense of the situation using his Hindu/Muslim/Christian religion.

Most of Anne Rice’s vampire novels are first person and are essentially a realized alterniworld. Kurt Vonnegut wrote several books in the first person, one of which (Galapagos ) is narrated by a ghost 1 million years in the future.