Last week in Twitter's kidlitchat, the subject of narration tense came up. In addition to the traditional 3rd person past tense and 1st person past tense, some authors also use 1st and 3rd person present tense.
This discussion reminded me of A Northern Light by Jennifer Donnelly, which incorporates a clever use of tense switching. The novel weaves together two narratives: a flashback and a more current narrative about the main character. Each chapter is written in 1st person past tense or present tense depending on which narrative it belongs to.
I'm not quite sure how I feel about that strategy. It's a nice subtle way to signal context to the reader, but it might have been a bit too subtle. I was a few chapters in before I realized what was happening. Nevertheless, it's a nice technique to be aware of.
What tense do you prefer in your reading or writing? Have you read any books that employed tense to its advantage?