Why did the narrator in Ishmael tell us practically nothing about his past, and why was he nameless?
He told all that was relevant to the story (his growing up in the sixties and seventies, for example). The fact that his father sold insurance and suffered long bouts of depression, the fact that his mother started several not very successful home-based businesses, the fact that he had two brothers, one of whom died of leukemia, and the fact that he had had several disastrous relationships with women are all completely beside the point. In My Ishmael (the upcoming sequel, narrated by a sixteen-year-old girl), we learn that his name is Alan Lomax. In his own telling of the story, Alan saw no reason to put his name in anywhere. The narrator of My Ishmael lets everyone know her name right away. Different characters, different personalities.