I’ve been reading Louise Penny’s Gamache series with a kind of fascination – not for the mystery element, which is fine, but for the POV.
It reads to me as omni, though I know plenty of other folks call it head-hopping, and they’re not exactly wrong. The image that I couldn’t get out of my head all through Still Life was of rocks being skipped across the water – just these brief, rapid dips into people’s heads. At times it’s poignant, at other times distracting – until you start to see how all these little insights are adding up.
It does, however, solve one problem of multiple POV, which is that it spares Penny from having to fully inhabit the characters, or make difficult decisions about balancing plot and pacing with creating a fully-fleshed worldview. I have no doubt that Penny knows her inspector inside and out, as she does Clara and perhaps a couple others; but for some characters it’s enough to give a few pithy inner reactions and move on. It can be a useful way to bridge moments without having to elevate yet another person to a full player in the story.
The rule of omni, as I was always taught it, is that the story is being told by an all-seeing narrator. And I think Penny’s work just slides over the line. While there isn’t a dominant Author Voice, there is a sense of containment throughout, of information being doled out very carefully.
I’m reminded too of the longago end to St. Elsewhere – perhaps that snow globe is a better fit than the skipping rocks?