While I was reading Chronic City, I found myself questioning the reliability of the narrator. Was this really Chase? There are many times throughout the book that it seems as though there is a shift. At one point Chase narrators in the first person and other times it is questionably, Chase narrating in the third person or perhaps a switch and the voice of the actual narrator is revealed, or maybe both. I first encountered this idea on page 76, which says, “These were the offices of Starbo Blandiana, the celebrated master of European medicine, who catered almost exclusively to the starts—Chase Insteadman had been in his care since that time, ten years past, when he had qualified as something of a star himself” (76). This quote suggests that this Eastern medicine specialist has cared for Chase; however, the use of Chases’s name makes this feel like a switch in narration. Unless perhaps Chase is addressing himself as the third person, which in this case does not really make sense. If this is a switch in narration, this idea also caters to the fact that Chase was previously qualified as a star and is not currently. When Chase is narrating in the first person he does somewhat question is star like qualities and attribute most of them to his fiancée, this could support the idea that Chase is addressing himself in the third person.
The second instance is on page 80. After the shift on page 79 it seems as though Chase has taken over narration again, or at least I thought so. But in the middle of page 80 it reads “How had it come to this? How had I been allowed to persuade him? Puttylike Chase Insteadman, so eagerly enlisted in absurd causes — Chase had talked Perkus into this”(80). This particular section really enhances the idea that reliability is not present throughout the text. First when Chase is addressed in the third person, it seems like it is himself narrating. He is questioning himself like Puttylike Chase (me) actually talked him into this, almost like he is shocked with himself. Then I thought this had to be Chase narrating in the third person because above it says “ How had I been allowed to persuade him” which he heard about in the very beginning of the book when Chase actually wants to persuade Perkus to visit this Doctor. However at the end is where the shift takes place, it reads “Chase had talked Perkus into this.” This right here blew my mind. Is Chase actually narrating in the third person, which makes it seem like a shift, or is he narrating in the third and first person at times but is there another narrator present? This made me question the reliability of the narrator (whoever that may be). In addition, the shift (if there are separate narrators) occurs within the same sentence, rather than shifting from section to section, which is confusing and annoying at the same time.
Random thoughts: Tiger symbolizes something bigger. Everyone has a Tiger present in his or her lives that represents something personal. For example, Perkus’s headaches are his Tiger. In addition, this idea that Chase’s girlfriend is lost in space seems unrealistic. I was unable to connect with this idea.