THE NIGHT CIRCUS, by Erin Morgenstern
This book was brought up during my critique group as an example of a book that seems to break all the "rules" by shifting from one verb tense into another, and changing narration styles mid-stream. What gives, the questioner was asking? Isn't this kind of inconsistency generally frowned upon? This is an excellent question, and I answered it as I always do - completely off the top of my head and without having looked at the source material. My answer was that writers can break all the rules they want to, as long as they do it consistently. I told her if she looked closely, she would see some kind of pattern or plan to the seeming inconsistencies, and having started the book, I can see I was right. The book is organized into sections of narrative chapters, with dreamlike insertions between each larger section. The insertions are written in a different style and tense than the main narrative. The structure of a book may be difficult to see at first, especially if the author is deliberately challenging us, but it's always there. This is a great book, by the way. More comments when I finish reading it.