Visually Impaired Unreliable Narrator

by Jay

Question: My main character is fully blind (but was born with sight) and they are very unreliable and manipulative. I was wondering if it would be at all offensive for them, as the storyteller trying to sway the audience to listen to their version of events, to describe their friends physically? The fact that they are blind would be stated quite bluntly near the beginning and referenced to throughout, and it wouldn't be a detail that's ignored or overlooked or down-played at all. But the character would, for example, use positive adjectives to describe the people they like, and negative adjectives to describe the people they don't like, even though they wouldn't know any of their acquaintances' physical characteristics at that time - if at all. They'd also probably guess at their peers' expressions judging by the tones of their voices, but state these assumptions as facts.

Does this sound problematic at all?

Answer: I don't see a problem if you make it clear to the reader early on that the character imagines what everyone looks like. He could even make a claim like, "I'm very talented at guessing facial expressions from someone's tone of voice, so you can trust me when I say Bob was smiling as he spoke."

Of course, the challenge lies in giving the reader clues that indicate when the main character's guesses are totally off-base.

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