The Unknown Huntsman? The unknown narrator, more like it!
So we have a question for you, Jean-Michel. Do you know who narrates your novel, The Unknown Huntsman? Is the reader in a position to work it out for themselves? And are there clues in the text (or only red herrings)?
My unknown narrator is exactly what the novel says he (or she) is: elusive, slippery as a bar of soap, usually alone, sometimes more than one person, sometimes a bit of a rebel, often cowardly, the type who skulks away but will then keep you in the church against your will. I’d be very impressed if anyone manages to unmask them—to my knowledge, there’s nothing in the text that would give them away. It could be fun, I suppose, but it would come down to arithmetic more than a close reading of the text. And that’s the very task set the Census-taker: to list the villagers, to shed light into the dark corners the narrator is trying to distract us from. And we know only too well the fate reserved for the poor Census-taker… Perhaps it’s best not to try too hard.
But this is the novel’s main issue, and the question that almost every reader I meet asks me. Solving problems has never been my forte—I’m all about creating them!
Jean-Michel Fortier was born in Quebec City in 1987. He completed a master’s degree in literature at Université Laval before moving to Montreal, where he currently works as a copy editor. The Unknown Huntsman is his first book.