10 Mesmerizing Books with Multiple Perspectives

By Stephanie Brown

Why stick to one narrator when you can have two? Or three? Or 12?

Some of the most exciting stories unfold through the eyes of multiple characters, allowing the author to build tension, mystery, nuance, and depth through a rich tapestry of narrative voices and points of view. In fact, once you notice this engaging device, you’ll discover books with multiple perspectives everywhere you look! 

We gathered a few of our favorites for your reading pleasure — and in true multifaceted fashion, our selections run the gamut of genres and styles. Whether you’re a fan of swirling family mysteries, twisting psychological thrillers, or layered literary dramas, you’re sure to find a compelling new perspective in the books below.

For fans of head-spinning psychological thrillers, check out:

The Silent Patient

By Alex Michaelides

Alex Michaelides is a master of the psychological thriller and the perfectly placed plot twist. In The Silent Patient, he delivers a twisting story of truth and lies told through the eyes of a reticent murderer and the therapist determined to figure out the truth behind her crime. Famed British painter Alicia Berenson seems to have all: success, money, and security. Then she shoots her fashion photographer husband five times in the face and refuses to speak another word. Enter Theo Faber, a renowned criminal psychotherapist who’s determined to figure out what happened that night and why a person who had it all would commit such a heinous crime. But is he ready for the truth he’s about to uncover? The Silent Patient moves fluidly through an array of perspectives and Alicia’s own diary entries to craft its narrative. It will keep you guessing until the last page is turned.  

Gone Girl

By Gillian Flynn

Gone Girl is one of the all-time best psychological thrillers that draws on multiple perspectives to deliver its narrative punch. It’s no wonder it became a runaway bestseller and an acclaimed film. We don’t want to give away too much, but Gillian Flynn’s brilliant representation of gender, marriage, and misogyny centers on the disappearance of Amy Dunne and the grieving husband she leaves behind. Is Nick the grieving spouse he appears to be, or is something more sinister at play?  

For fans of sweeping historical fiction told by multiple voices, check out:

Beyond That, the Sea

By Laura Spence-Ash

In Beyond That, the Sea, Laura Spence-Ash presents a sweeping work of historical fiction that explores world-changing events through the lives of ordinary people. The coming-of-age novel, which spans WWII to the 1970s, begins in 1940 London. Eleven-year-old Beatrix Thompson is sent by her working-class parents to live in Boston to escape the encroaching war. Initially heartbroken by the move, Bea soon adjusts to her new life in the States with her wealthy surrogate family. But just as she grows into her new identity in America, the war in Europe ends and Bea is called back to London. Now caught between two worlds, Bea embarks on an epic journey in search of herself and her true home. “In this exquisite novel, Laura Spence-Ash weaves a beautiful mosaic of voices, each a perfect postcard exploring home, love, loss, and belonging that will entrance readers until the final, heartwarming page” (award-winning author Hannah Tinti). 

All the Light We Cannot See

By Anthony Doerr

All the Light We Cannot See is a Pulitzer Prize–winning story of love and friendship set during WWII that’s told from the perspectives of Marie-Laure, a young blind French girl in Nazi-occupied France, and Werner, a German student and expert in radio technology. While Werner’s impressive technical skills land him in an academy for the Hitler Youth, he soon comes to realize the vile truth about the Third Reich and the severe cost of the intelligence he provides. So, he sets out across war-torn Europe, where he eventually crosses paths with Marie-Laure in the walled French citadel of Saint-Malo. Anthony Doerr’s complex themes of hatred, love, connection, and survival are further enriched by the telling of the story through the perspectives of two young lovers caught in the enormity of the Second World War. 

For fans of gripping family mysteries told from multiple perspectives, check out:

A Nearly Normal Family

By M. T. Edvardsson

M.T. Edvardsson's A Nearly Normal Family is a compelling work of domestic suspense that explores the lengths to which a family will go to protect their own. When Stella Sandell is accused of murdering a much older man, it stuns her family and throws their suburban home life into disarray. What business did she have with this man 15 years her senior? She couldn’t possibly have killed him, right? As the mystery deepens and new family secrets come to light, we witness Stella’s parents — her pastor father and defense attorney mother — weigh the love and protectiveness they feel for their daughter against the severity of the crime Stella’s accused of committing. 

Locust Lane

By Stephen Amidon

Multiple perspectives make any mystery more intriguing. After all, how much more fun is it to sort through the clues and puzzle over the truth through different points of view — especially when you suspect one of the characters is lying? In Locust Lane, Stephen Amidon presents a multifaceted literary mystery that pulls you right in. When Eden Perry is found dead in the wealthy New England town of Emerson, Massachusetts, the three teens she was partying with on her last night alive are implicated in her death. But in this exclusive enclave, families will do whatever it takes to save face and protect their children, even if it means letting someone else take the fall. Amidon delivers his mystery through each character’s perspective, drawing on familiar archetypes — the nice girl, the popular kid, the outsider — and then complicating the narrative when we least expect it.  

If you love delving into the source material of your favorite TV series, check out:

The Underground Railroad

By Colson Whitehead

Barry Jenkins’s acclaimed miniseries adaptation of The Underground Railroad earned a bevy of awards, including the NAACP Image Award and a Golden Globe Award for Best Miniseries or Television Film. If you’ve yet to delve into the show’s astounding source material, now is the perfect time. In his Pulitzer Prize–winning work of historical speculative fiction, Colson Whitehead takes the metaphor of the Underground Railroad and makes it literal: The path to freedom is an actual working railroad with secret tunnels, tracks, and engineers. The Underground Railroad unfolds as a journey narrative interweaving the perspective of Cora, a 16-year-old enslaved girl who escapes from a farm in Georgia, and the various people and ghosts she encounters on her train journey north. Among them are her grandmother, an abolitionist’s wife, a slave-catcher, and Caesar, Cora’s partner in escape. 

Daisy Jones & The Six

By Taylor Jenkins Reid

Recently adapted into a series starring Riley Keough and Sam Claflin, Daisy Jones & The Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid is a rollicking novel told in the style of an oral history, with each character offering their own accounting of the events that unfold. The bestselling novel centers on a popular 1970s rock group and tracks the band’s meteoric rise and calamitous disintegration through interviews with band members, emails, song lyrics, and more. This one’s perfect for music lovers and anyone who wants to get lost in an engrossing story of fame, friendship, and ego.

For fans of layered literary dramas, check out:

There, There

By Tommy Orange

Critically acclaimed There, There is a masterpiece of complex storytelling. The sprawling novel weaves together 12 interconnecting stories of Native Americans who all live in Oakland, California, and their personal accounts illustrate the complex interplay between trauma and joy inherent in the modern Native American experience. Tommy Orange uses overlapping narratives to reconstruct the often-fractured stories of the Indigenous experience, drawing attention to the struggles of a marginalized community united by their heritage and historical resilience. 

Sing, Unburied, Sing

By Jesmyn Ward

Often likened to the lyrical prose of Toni Morrison and William Faulkner, Jesmyn Ward’s writing is suffused with genre-defying feats of narrative complexity. Sing, Unburied, Sing, a lush familial story of trauma, coping, and the stark legacy of American racism, is her most ambitious book to date. Combining the elements of a road novel with a ghost story, the National Book Award–winning narrative jumps between Jojo and his family members, both alive and dead, as they embark on a road trip from Mississippi to visit Jojo’s father, who’s just been released from prison. 

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