Though the experimental novel can be defined in terms of a plethora of different qualities, one aspect that has presented itself in all of the works we have read is our inability to completely trust the narrator. Through their use of language and style, the narrators in the novels have given us doubt in their own abilities to relate their stories. While most narrators possess at least some bias or subjectivity that must be considered when interpreting the story, the narrators in experimental fiction are beyond biased. They undermine, contradict, exaggerate, and leave out details that make us question their motives and roles as narrators. Whether it is Bernard, encompassing the other narrators in The Waves, Molloy, questioning his communicating ability, Kathy's blotchy memory, the end of Loving, James's unquestioning loyalty, Anna's cracking up, etc. Almost all of the narrators must be read cautiously. The only novel I couldn't immediately add to this list was Women in Love, and I would argue it was experimental for different reasons.
Why do so these experimental works want us to question their narrators? By questioning the narrators we are forced to question the novel. Not the events in the novel (though those may be questioned too), but the intention, the motivation behind writing the novel. In most "standard" novels, the intention of the novel and what it is trying to convey are easily made clear to the reader, even if not stated directly. In the experimental works, we must pry deeper and interpret more in order to discover the underlying meaning. In doing so, the novel as a whole begins to become a part of its own story, creating a sort of entity that interacts on another level with the reader. In this way the experimental novel sets itself apart from the standard literature and defies or goes beyond the traditional narrative.