Ásta Kristín Benediktsdóttir: “Form and style is hard to handle”. Multipersoned narrative and Lifandi vatnið − − − by Jakobína Sigurðardóttir
This article deals with Jakobína Sigurðardóttir’s (1918−1994) novel Lifandi vatnið − − − (1974). In this novel, many different narrative styles and text types are combined, and the narrative structure is very complex. The narrative mode is neither first nor third person; the narrator uses several different pronouns when referring to the protagonist, Pétur, and the narrative is therefore multipersoned. Moreover, the figure of the narrator is ambiguous and the relationship between him and Pétur is not completely clear.
Building on Monika Fludernik’s and Brian Richardson’s writings on multipersoned narratives, this analysis focuses on Lifandi vatnið – – – ’s unusual narrative and its significance for the novel’s characterisation. The narrative mode itself is an important part of the representation of Pétur, his irresponsibility and escape from reality, and his fragmented identity and mental illness. This complex narrative also forces the reader to stop and rethink his stance in relation to the text, and urges him to practice active reading.
Keywords: Jakobína Sigurðardóttir, Lifandi vatnið − − −, narratology, narrative mode, multipersoned narrative