As a former student of comparative literature, and in particular the field of narratology, my tolerance for unnecessarily vague academic terms is bigger than average. Recently at our monthly dinner party, my father-in-law mentioned that he doesn’t think the term “narrative” is relevant in the wide majority of contexts. “In most cases, a simple ‘story’ will suffice”, he declared.

This recently, when I was publishing an old Now page, I came across a use case for the word “narrative” that did not allow for an interchanging of that word with “story”.