This is a question to anyone who dislikes first person present for any given reason, since there are a lot of you out there. Especially anyone who has ever said it is just a gimmick to make the narrative feel more immediate. To decide on a narrative mode for my novel, I have followed a process of elimination that has led me to conclude the only narrative mode that really works is first person present. But I have not made a decision. With the following information in mind, would you forgive first person present, or do you have a better alternative? This is the process of elimination: Person The protagonist does not really have anyone to talk to about what is important to her. (No one knows who she is or remembers anything she says.) But the thing is, the very point of the novel is for the reader to get to know her (eliminating second person). So her words have to come out somehow. Either she talks to herself, she writes the story of her life (even though her writing is invisible to everyone else), or the reader is placed directly inside her head. A character who spends half the time talking to herself gets annoying really fast (eliminating third person). Furthermore, third person somewhat defeats the thematic purpose. The protagonist is a nonperson because the world's collective knowledge keeps rewriting itself as if she never existed. I would interpret a third person story of her life as some kind of piece of history that was not rewritten, which would falsely imply her existence is not entirely erased from the world's collective knowledge. That leaves first person. Tense The last words of the book are the last words she says/writes/thinks in her life. By the end of her life, she has lost all her own memories. Therefore, there is no point at which she can look back on her entire life. That eliminates a completely after-the-fact past tense mode, leaving epistolary and present tense. Epistolary actually has a certain appeal; in fact, this novel is inspired by an epistolary novel (fictional journal) that works quite well. However, when I think about it, the logic justifying her motive to write the journal breaks down. Maybe if I studied real journals, then I would change my mind. But as it is, since no one else can read her writing, she is writing it either for herself or in vain hopes that someone will be able to read it one day. For herself: she is just not really the type of person who would feel the need to write about her experiences to... remind herself of her experiences. If she writes for herself at all, then her writing probably just consists of research notes and/or wish-fulfillment fantasies (born of starvation for meaningful human contact). Either way, it would be difficult at best to make a good novel out of that, and I cannot justify why she would keep writing after she loses her own memory. For posterity: she is passionate about leaving a legacy by contributing to the arts and sciences. And she has a lot to contribute. If she writes anything in hopes that someone will read it one day, then I cannot imagine that she would spend her time writing about herself. She would write about ideas in the same way she would write about them if others could read her writing, although her views certainly change over the course of the novel. That leaves present tense. In addition to that process of elimination, there is my general finding that, in any fictional writing, first person eliminates the need to filter subjective human experiences through filtering (e.g. "this is the most beautiful place in the world" vs. "this is the most beautiful place she has ever seen"), and present tense allows the narration to move back and forth in time more freely. Along with some other general findings that favor first person present. So after all that, if first person present is still intolerable, then what would be tolerable without breaking the story?