The nature of the narrator is sometimes immediately clear. For instance, a story may open with the narrator making a plainly false or delusional claim or admitting to being severely mentally ill, or the story itself may have a frame in which the narrator appears as a character, with clues to his unreliability. A more dramatic use of the device delays the revelation until near the story's end. This twist ending forces the reader to reconsider their point of view and experience of the story. In some cases the narrator's unreliability is never fully revealed but only hinted at, leaving the reader to wonder how much the narrator should be trusted and how the story should be interpreted.
Historical novels, speculative fiction, and clearly delineated dream sequences are generally not considered instances of unreliable narration, even though they describe events that did not or could not happen.
In J.D. Salinger’s The Catcher in the Rye the iconic persona and the testimonial voice of its first-person narrator, Holden, serves as an insightful but unreliable narrator.
J.D. Salinger (January 1, 1919 – January 27, 2010)