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By Ana-karina Schneider

Reports within the Rhetoric of Fiction investigates the modern novel's relation to its forerunners, the picaresques, romances and mawkish novels of the 18th century. Henry Fielding, Laurence Sterne and Jane Austen are strong landmarks, whereas, of the modern practitioners, a handful recur from one bankruptcy to the following, rather Julian Barnes, Ian McEwan and Kazuo Ishiguro. The chapters percentage an curiosity within the rhetoric of fiction, greatly understood because the manner during which fictional works in attaining their results on readers, no matter if by means of without delay addressing a hypothetical reader, utilizing irony and parody, orchestrating competitions among divergent narratives, imitating musical buildings, inviting intertextual readings, or overtly taking factor with conventional conventions and expectancies. Chapters concentrating on narrative technique and metanarrative remark, consequently, exchange with these interrogating analyzing practices and readerly participation within the rhetorical interchange.

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The war plot of the second half of the novel is the vehicle for divergent narratives revealing the working of the conflicted narratorial consciousness which recognises the impossibility of happy endings and atonement, yet grinds over both, convincing itself that “The attempt was all” (2005, 371). McEwan’s psychological realism is thus both more panoramic than Austen’s and more self-consciously involved with the metafictional aspects of representing femininity in the process of being produced. It is the psychosocial ramifications of this kind of realism and the tropes and strategies deployed for their representation that I intend to examine in what follows.

As a writer of romances, thirteen-yearold Briony likes nothing better than to be able “to have the world just so” (McEwan 2005, 4): she has a “passion for tidiness” and “a love of order” (7) which demand that only subjects that have the knack of aggregating a world, such as romantic love or the discovery of secrets, are worth pursuing. Paradoxically, it is precisely re-armament and the crisis in Abyssinia that will determine her story in ways that she is reluctant to acknowledge to the very end.

With a feminine authorial presence who, moreover, is a catalyst of the action, the sympathetic presentation of young Briony, the character, acquires very subtly conflicted undertones. She becomes both more real—because the implied author has been orchestrating the story of her own younger self—and doubly fictitious: the intradiegetic author is herself the creation of McEwan, the extradiegetic, implied author. But beyond this fairly common device,xvi there is the constant question of the distinct ethos attached to male and female discourse, respectively.

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