What kind of narrator tells the story of Déjà Vu by Ian Hocking?

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karythcara's profile pic

Karyth Cara | College Teacher | (Level 1) Senior Educator

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The narrator of Déjà Vu by Ian Hocking is a third-person narrator who is objective and at a distance, not making editorial or satirical commentary, who is outside the story and telling events as they happen.

Saskia approached the desk and adjusted the position of its antique blotter while she thought. She stroked a framed photograph: her English boyfriend, Simon.

The narrator has an omniscient point-of-view and can see the thoughts, feeling, motives, or anything else of any character at any time. For instance, the story starts out with the narrator speaking from Saskia's point-of-view but then changes to Herr Beckman's point-of-view.

Herr Hauptkommissar Beckmann wore a grey Nehru Jacket with a lemon-yellow flower in its buttonhole.

kipling2448's profile pic

kipling2448 | (Level 3) Educator Emeritus

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In writing his science fiction novel Deja Vu, author Ian Hocking employed what is called an omniscient third-person narrator, a common choice among novelists. Deja Vu is the story of a scientist on the run, suspected of murder, and being tracked by Hocking's protagonist, the detective Saskia Brandt. In contrast to literature written from the first-person perspective, in which the narrator's thoughts are provided directly to the reader, third-person narrators are usually unseen, objective observers relating the story. Hocking's style, utilizing third-person narration, is particularly formal to the point of being stilted, consistent with the futuristic setting in which his story takes place. Note, for instance, the following passage from Deja Vu:

"Saskia marched on. Attacked by the air conditioning, her sweat dried cold. She passed a copy of the European Union constitution in a glass case. A tour group had clotted around it while a guide recited trivia. Saskia found the lift and rose to the fifty-first floor."

Saskia, as the reader discovers, is almost robotic in the sense that she has no known background (it is, at least, unknown to her) and functions sort of on automatic, dispassionately pursuing her prey. As such, Hocking's style of writing emphasizes the atmosphere in which the story occurs. Contrast the cold, dispassionate style surrounding Saskia with the more detail-oriented description of the novel's other main character/protagonist, David Proctor:

"The single occupant of the taxi was a man with a friendly, forgettable face. He was halfway to baldness and kept the remainder of his hair long, swept over his ears and rakishly curled at the collar. His jacket was tailor-made but his jeans were fashionably cheap. He was David Proctor, Oxford academic, and it was twenty years since he had cradled the head of his dead wife in the darkness below."

Proctor, as noted, is suspected in a series of murders, and his history forms the basis of Hocking's thriller. The third-person narration is used to illuminate the distinctions between characters, but it is, at its core, a typical use of third-person omniscient narration.

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