Looking for a tag for books with many protagonists
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I referenced Game of thrones because it's a well-known work, but I actually want the tag for The Wanderer by Fritz Leiber, which is a book from 1964 that somehow made it onto my list of all-time favorites. This storytelling trick is its most striking feature, since it follows the experiences of a number of groups of people that are all connected by the unfolding of a worldwide disaster. The author helps us out by starting the first sentence of each new section with the name of a major character in that group.
I'd like to keep track of what other books do this, and whether it works for them. Hence the tag. But I can't figure out what to call it. I considered "many protagonists" but that doesn't imply the viewpoint-switching that I'm interested in.
...actually, I really like that. I've got a bunch of works for which I could use this tag; I might have to steal it. :)
I like the idea, not something I'd considered tagging before. I'd probably go for multiple PoV but polyphonic works too.
(I realize that I think of them as "story threads". Unfortunately the word "thread" is heavily associated with "plot thread", which is not what I mean here.)
I was leafing through A game of thrones in order to count them, and realized that its technique is slightly different: it dedicates a chapter to one character, then the next chapter to another, etc. The term "point of view" is actually more appropriate here, because each chapter presents that character's internal monologue along with the action. The Wanderer remains an impartial narrative that describes what the characters say and do, it just looks over different shoulders. With the exception of one specific thread, actually. Now I realize why I thought of that thread as the book's "main story" :)
Another book which does a similar thing is The reality dysfunction by Peter Hamilton. It differs from the other two in that it seems to actually tell a number of different stories, and the stories occasionally intersect. Like the others, it uses the unfolding of a large-scale disaster to tie the timelines together.
The drawback that all of them share is that if the reader takes a particular interest in one of the story threads, then all the others become boring by comparison and tempting to skip. This effect was particularly bad in A feast for crows, where I was tempted to skip nearly all of it, and only found out in the afterword that the author had deliberately deferred half of the story threads (including all of my favorites) to the next book.
To answer the specific question, I think having just two viewpoints isn't enough to be in this category. A book that intertwines two viewpoints would emphasize the contrast between them, which seems a different storytelling technique. I actually know a book like that -- Changeling by Zelazny is about a war between two brothers, told from both their points of view. It shows different interpretations of the same events, rather than different aspects of a worldwide event.