Paradise Rot: This is purposeful on the part of The Woman and the Dog, enough so that those that know them in later books don't tell anyone else and the reader never knows anything more than the first letter.
The Perks of Being a Wallflower: Charlie's parents and siblings are never named. Could also count for Charlie as well, as it's implied his name is made up with the other names as well. The Film of the Book gives his sister's name as Candace though.
The 1995 novel Blindness, by José Saramago, does not reveal the names of any characters, main or otherwise. Instead they each receive a distinctive appellation: "The doctor's wife", "The Girl with Dark Glasses", etc.
The protagonists of Animorphs never revealed their last names, ostensibly for security reasons; they occasionally said in narration that they might not even be using their real first names. In book 53, the Yeerks already know who they are, so Jake just reveals that his last name (and presumably Rachel's) is Berenson, that's he's 16, and that he's had his powers for three years.
In #23, a bit of dialogue gives Tobias' name as "Tobias _____." Information about Tobias' father given later in the book leads to Fanon that his surname is Fangor, but this is open to question, due to a Sufficiently Advanced Alien erasing information about his dad from people's memories and a stepfather whom Tobias always assumed was his birth father anyway.
In Loyal Enemies, neither Shelena's tormentor nor his student are named in the story. After killing both of them, Shelena admits that she doesn't really want to know, actually.
In Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, it's mentioned several times that Bartemius Crouch had a son who went to jail for supporting Voldemort; however, the son is never given a first name until the end of the story. It's also "Bartemius," and he's the one Harry saw earlier on the Marauder's Map.
A Series of Unfortunate Events: most of the villains - the bald man with the long nose, wart-faced man, the person of indeterminate gender, two white-faced women, man with a beard but no hair and the woman with hair but no beard - are consistently referred to by these descriptions. An exception is the hook-handed man, who after switching sides, gives his name as Fernald.
Dragon Queen: the old man claims to have many names, but he's always referred to as the old man.
In The Lord of the Rings many of the villains are nameless (or have only the names given to them by their enemies). The Nazgûl have no names in the text itselfnote in some supporting writings Tolkien referred to one of them as "Khamûl", but he dropped the name, though their leader is identified as "the Witch-king of Angmar" or "Lord of the Nazgûl". The Mouth of Sauron is said to have forgotten his own name long before. Even "Sauron" is a name given to the enemy by the Elves (it means "Abhorred"); we never learn what he was called before he fell. (Iron Crown Enterprises' Middle-earth RPG gave all the Ringwraiths names.)
In Mary, Bloody Mary, the titular princess eavesdrops on a conversation between three ladies of the court; we never learn their names and Mary refers to them by what they're wearing - Yellow Satin, Green Silk and Midnight Blue.
Bill Pronzini has a long running series of novels about a character known only as "The Nameless Detective".
Bodyguards trained under Madam Ko are taught never to tell their clients their first names because they might become friends, and a bodyguard should be more detached.
Thus, Artemis only knew his bodyguard by his last name, Butler. When Butler was dying, he decided it didn't matter anymore if Artemis knew his name and told it to him.
Butler's little sister Juliet is a bodyguard-in-training for the first three books; at one point when she and Butler are discussing her future, Butler says, "Of course, it's completely against protocol for you to have Artemis as your Principal. He already knows your first name, and truth be told I think he's a little fond of you."
Telling one's principal your first name is such a big deal that Artemis' knowledge of Butler's first name is all it takes to convince him that all the LEP business really happened after their memories are wiped.
Because the Arthur Adventure Books are written from Arthur's perspective, the Brain didn't have or need a given name until the books were adapted into the TV show.
The major villain is referred to only as "the gentleman with thistle-down hair". Some efforts are made to find out his name, but when speaking with the gentleman people always forget to ask. In the miniseries, he's indirectly referred to once or twice as "Cold Tom Blue", but it's made pretty clear that this isn't actually his name.
The author has also said she wanted the Raven King to be nameless, but over the course of the book he acquired about seventeen different names and titles—none of which are his true name.
A major plot point develops around the fact that no one knows Stephen Black's true name, not even him. ("Stephen Black" is a slave name.)
In an early draft the Traveller was Dr. Moses Nebogipfel. Wells made the right decision.
In Stephen Baxter's official sequel The Time Ships, his first name is revealed to be Moses (although the name is only ever used to refer to his younger self), however the book still goes out if its way to avoid giving a surname, even covering it with dashes at one point. As a Shout-Out to the early draft, one of the main characters is a Morlock called Nebogipfel.
Roald Dahl's The Witches is narrated in first person, and the protagonist's name is never revealed. This also occurs in many of his more adult short stories.
Curley's wife from Of Mice and Men is the most obvious example, but really none of the other characters apart from George and Lenny have actual names either: Boss, Slim, Curley, Crooks, etc.
A number of Len Deighton's spy novels have a protagonist who is an English spy. His real name is never mentioned, although he is often referred to by his various cover names. He became "Harry Palmer" in the films.
In The Day of the Jackal by Frederick Forsyth, The Jackal is never named. A name attributed to him, "Charles Henry Duggan", turns out to be false. His corpse is buried in an anonymous grave.
None of the Pirates in Gideon Defoe's Pirates! in an Adventure with? books is ever referred by name. They're referred to as "the pirate with a red scarf" or "the pirate with a wooden leg". He's remarkably consistent with the pirate descriptions and characterization. The pirate with the scarf is the second in command, the pirate in red is grumpy and often backtalks. At the end of the first book they do get one named member of their pirate crew, Jennifer.
Which is relevant, because the man trying to magically torture him attempts to use his name as a key, and is brutally surprised when it doesn't work.
Locke does have a real name, and knows what it is. However, it has yet to be revealed, and the only other character who knows it is Jean, because he talked Locke into telling him what it was. After hearing it, Jean remarks that he would have gone with Locke instead of that, too.
The only clue so far is that Locke's real name is five syllables.
It's Lamor Acanthus.
Shadow, the main character of Neil Gaiman's American Gods, is referred to only by his nickname throughout the book, although his wife Laura's last name is given as Moon (and Mr. Gaiman once revealed at a press conference that Shadow's real name is Balder Moon).
Which is relevant, since he is in fact the god Baldr.
Similarly, other characters go through the book without revealing their true name, or in the case of "The Fat Kid", any name at all.
Another of the new gods introduces himself to several characters, but they immediately forget. His name and description are both left indeterminate to the reader, but he's later described as a god of currency and commerce.
The Man in the Yellow Hat from the Curious George books is never mentioned by name, though he is called "Ted" in the 2006 film adaptation.
The Callahans Cross Time Saloon stories have Mickey Finn, whose real name is unpronounceable. His self-selected nickname becomes a minor plot point, and much later, half of the basis for a pun.
His real name is revealed to be Txffu Mpwfs, but only the Callahans can pronounce it.
It turns out that even Mike Callahan's name isn't the one he was born with — and the one he was born with gets wrapped in what may be the most appalling pun the series has yet seen.
There's all William Williams in the Callahan's books, he's generally called "Double Bill", but one character calls him BBill, and nobody know how she says it.
The repository of all human knowledge is called The Archive—who, when Harry first meets her in Death Masks, is a little girl of seven. Harry, who sees her as a very smart little girl rather than as her function, nicknames her Ivy.
Harry names the Air Spirit trapped in a skull 'Bob' and a xerox copy of a Fallen Angel inside his head 'Lash'. This habit of his is significant as names have power in the Dresdenverse.
Messua's husband, Mowgli's adoptive father, is never given a name, despite being the richest man in the village. (This likely reflects the fact that he and Mowgli, the point-of-view character, never really connect.) By contrast, Kipling gives names to a couple of minor characters who are never seen again.
In "Rikki-Tikki-Tavi", Teddy's father isn't named, although Teddy's mother's name is Alice, as given in dialogue.
In the Inuit story "Quiquern", there's a girl from a tribe whose womenfolk are rescued after their men die on a hunt. Despite accompanying the hero Kotuko on a dangerous mission, and eventually marrying him, she's only ever called "the girl".
In the Maximum Ride series, the 'flock' is only referred to by nicknames. Even Max- the only average name- is an alias, being short for "Maximum". Nudge and Iggy both have their first names revealed, but Max, Fang, Angel and Gasman never state theirs.
Taken to an extreme in Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness. Only two characters are ever given a name, the rest are called by their job title.
In Erich Maria Remarque's Arch of Triumph, the main character is only called Ravic, which is only the last of his several aliases. At the end of the novel, his real name is revealed.
In another Remarque novel, Spark of Life, the main character is called 509, his serial number in the concentration camp, where the story sets (though he casually mentions his real name once).
In Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison, if a complex character is introduced before their personality is fully explained, they're often not given a full name until we learn their true nature. Some characters go without a name throughout, most notably the narrator, who doesn't quite understand himself; even the assumed name the Brotherhood gives him is deliberately withheld. This is also used with such characters as the Founder to show that No Celebrities Were Harmed.
The King, in James Clavell's King Rat. (At the end of the book, he gives "King" as his surname.)
In Amy Hempel's story "In the Cemetary Where Al Jolson Is Buried," the main characters are referred to as "I" and "she."
The narrator of Denis Johnson's Jesus's Son is only addressed by his nickname, "Fuckhead."
In Franz Kafka's The Castle the protagonist is known only as 'K.' Notes indicate that the novel was originally narrated in the first-person. At some point Kafka, who died before finishing the novel, decided to change each reference to the protagonist from 'I' to 'K.'
The same thing happens in The Trial by the same author.
There are seven named characters in Lee's Kill The Dead, of which one is a nickname and another turns out to be a mistake. Cinnabar might be a nickname too, being how a redhead introduces herself.
The title character of Gaston Leroux's The Phantom of the Opera gives his first name as "Erik," although he later claims he got the name "by accident" so it's entirely possible that's another alias.
The Persian is a more straightforward example of this trope. Even Erik, who knows him personally, refers to him by his title, "Daroga" (meaning chief of police).
Very few human characters in C. S. Lewis's The Screwtape Letters have any name given; the main one is known only as the Patient. This both shows the devils' lack of personal concern, and helps establish the Patient as a sort of Everyman.
Paul Theroux wrote two novels starring Spencer Savage—called that on the back covers, but in the text, he is unnamed until the second-to-last page of the second book, The London Embassy. His name is revealed when he is asked, "Do you, Spencer Michael Savage, take this woman to be your lawful wedded wife?
The protagonist of Anita Amirrezvani's novel The Blood of Flowers has no name. Word of God says that it was a tribute to the nameless artisans of Iran, where the story takes place.
In Geoffrey Storey's The Colonial Boy, the main character is known only as "The Boy" and becomes The Youth, The Student, and finally The Commando as the story progresses.
The narrator and protagonist of Glen Cook's Garrett, P.I. series has yet to reveal his full name. We know his mother's pet name for him ("Wart") and the nickname he went by in the Marines ("Wrecker"), and it's been implied that he was named after some long-dead relative, but Cook's still being coy about his given name.
In the same series, Garrett's Loghyr partner is known only as "the Dead Man". It's yet to be established if members of the Loghyr race have names at all, or if the Dead Man simply prefers to remain anonymous.
None of the characters in Surfacing by Margaret Atwood have full names. The narrator is never named, and her three companions are only known by their first names. The narrator refers to people in her past only as "my father", "my mother", "my brother", etc.
Similarly, in The Handmaid's Tale we only learn the narrator's real name by implication (the women being trained as handmaids whisper their names to each other: there are five, and by the book's end we hear later news of all but one). Similarly, we never learn the Commander's surname, and only know his first name because the narrator is called Offred.
Major _____ de Coverly of Catch-22, along with many characters known solely by descriptions, such as Nately's Whore and Nately's Whore's Kid Sister.
The rulers of the foremost riding in Armada, from The Scar, are known only as the Lovers.
The main character of the Montmorency novels is known only by "Montmorency" in his upper-class persona (the brand of satchel he was carrying when arrested), or "Scarper" in his lower-class one (the last word his accomplice had yelled to him before his capture). His childhood name is eventually revealed in the fourth book, but even this is just the one he'd been assigned at the orphanage.
Dozen Black Roses'' by Nancy A. Collins. The main character Sonja Blue is referred to as "the stranger" throughout the whole book, when asked for her name, she either refuses to give it, or is cut off. She finally reveals it at the end to one of the few surviving characters. If you read the back of the book her name is given (and there were three previous novels plus several short stories about Sonja as well).
In The Last Black Cat by Eugene Trivizas, the name of the main character (who's narrating the story) is never revealed. The most we get is him being casually referred to as 'mate' (in the context of friend).
One minor character in Joan Hess's Maggody mystery series, who keeps house for Mrs. Jim Bob, is known only as "Perkins' eldest". Considering the kinds of cockamamie names people in Maggody stick on their kids, it may be just as well.
Both the main character and his son in Cormac McCarthy's The Road are referred to only as "The Man/The Father" and "The Boy/The Son"
Played with in the story The Blacklist. The lead character's name is Ivan G. Nemone. Three guesses what that's an anagram for.
His name is the only one that is pointed out as a fake name. It's left to the reader's interpretation whether or not the other characters' names are their own, as they are all anagrams for things like "He is the bad guy" and "She is a traitor."
In Great Expectations, Pip's sister is always referred to as Mrs. Joe. It isn't until the penultimate chapter, long after she's died, that it's revealed she was named after their mother, Georgiana.
In Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier, the protagonist (no, it's not Rebecca) is never given a name. Interestingly, her future husband comments that she has a very beautiful and uncommon name. She is the narrator of the story, and it might be argued that the writer purposefully emphasizes this role, while Rebecca is the true protagonist after all, since she practically arranges the mood and plotline in this novel despite the fact that she's dead.
The first name of Robert B. Parker's P.I. Spenser is never revealed. And seeing as his author is now dead, it probably never will be. Although it's doubtful Parker would ever have given him a first name anyway.
No name is given to the narrator in Andrew M. Greeley's "God Game". One third of the way into the book, Greeley interjects an author's note where he denies that the narrator is either himself or Bishop "Blackie" Ryan, the lead character in a detective series that Greeley writes.
The Commissaris in Janwillem van de Wetering's Grijpstra and de Gier mysteries, even though he's a fairly prominent character.
In Eragon, it is stated that the names of the dragons of the Forsworn have been erased so that no one can remember them.
The Narrator in The Gargoyle never tells us his name, not even when another character carves it into her chest with a chisel.
There are only six or seven named characters total in ''The Tiger's Wife; characters who never get names include the title character and the narrator Natalia's grandfather, who is central to two of the three main plotlines.
Peter David's Tigerheart, arguably the best of many published Peter Pan fan fiction novels, changes the names of everything and everyone involved — consistent with Barrie's statement that everyone experiences the Neverland differently. The one person who is never named is Peter himself. He's "The Boy".
Although Holly refers to the narrator as Fred for the first half of Breakfast at Tiffany's, he is never properly introduced.
In Nick Harkaway's The Gone-Away World, the protagonist never receives a name, because Gonzo forgot to give him one. The whole book is in first person, so it's never really brought to your attention until the point where the protagonist is giving a rousing speech to inspire the Haulage Co. to go rescue Gonzo and he tries to introduce himself. This leads to an uncomfortable Beat while he realizes he doesn't actually have a name.
Henry James seemed to like creating heroines without names in his short stories — such as the heroine of "In The Cage" and the governess of The Turn of the Screw — despite naming other major characters such as their co-workers and family.
The Dresden Files: John Marcone is an alias, albeit one he's adopted so permanently he says he rarely thinks of his real name.
In The Nanny Diaries, hardly any of the main characters get a real name: the titular nanny's name is Nanny, the last name of the family for whom she works is X, and her love interest who lives in the building is merely nicknamed "Harvard Hottie" or "H.H.," even once they enter a relationship. (This changes in the sequel, Nanny Returns.)
This is a plot point in The Book of Three, the first book of The Chronicles of Prydain. The Horned King can only be defeated by one who knows his true name. The reader never finds out what that name is; when Princess Eilonwy asks Prince Gwydion what it was, he says that it will have to remain a secret, "but I assure you it was not half as pretty as your own."
In Dreams Of Joy, Joy's mother-in-law is referred to by her mother as "Joy's Mother-in-Law", because she had no name outside of her husband's surname. She went by Fu-shee when she got married. This was Truth in Television for poor Chinese women, who often weren't given names or given names like "hope for a son".
Serena Mackesy's 'The Temp' has a first person narrator, and since everyone she works for is to much of a wazzock to ask for her name, you don't get it until the end of the sixty-fifth chapter.
Gene Stratton-Porter was strange about names. Her self-insert in a couple of her books is called, in both narrative and dialogue, "the Bird Woman". In Freckles the title character gives his name as only that, claiming that as an orphan and (he believes) a bastard he has no right to any other. By the last chapter he and we learn his real name, but we never do learn names for his love-interest, the Swamp Angel, or her father, the Man of Affairs.
Barry Pain's Eliza stories are narrated by her husband, who unlike Eliza remains unnamed.
You are never referred to by name in Jay McInerney's Bright Lights, Big City (which, like the Choose Your Own Adventure books, is written in the second person), although in the film version you get called Jamie Conway.
Sisterhood Series by Fern Michaels: Three men with gold shields who answer only to the President of the United States and Charles Martin show up in the book Payback. The names of these three men are never given, and this is commented on by a number of characters. Even their replacement, Chuck Nevins, in Sweet Revenge either doesn't know their names or is unwilling to divulge such information.
While the calico cat in The Underneath apparently has a name, it is never revealed throughout the book.
In the 74th Games and the Quarter Quell, Katniss never learns all the tributes' names, so she mostly refers to the unknown ones as the girl/boy/female/male from District whatever. Or the "morphlings" from District 6.
The exploits of one of the protagonists in the Dance of the Gods series is narrated in a first-person "noir" style instead of the regular third-person style of the other protagonists, and he is never addressed by name. At the end of the book it turns out that he's under a "spell of namelessness".
In Darkness at Noon, No. 402 refuses to give his name when Rubashov asks. The real name of No. 406, whom No. 402 calls "Rip Van Winkle," is also never divulged.
None of the characters in Redfern Jon Barrett's short story Transaction are ever mentioned by name, instead featuring childish descriptions such as 'the woman with the lopsided grin' and 'the girl with nine years'.
A Song of Ice and Fire has a lot of minor characters who go exclusively by their nicknames, such as Hot Pie and Old Nan. There's also the people at the House of Black and White, as they gave up their names along with the rest of their identities when they joined; Arya calls them the kindly man and the waif. The High Septon gives up his first name (in addition to his last, which is already dropped for all septons) when taking up the position.
The mother and Old Nick never receive names in Room. On occasion, the mother's name will simply be referred to as those two words, sometimes right in the middle of otherwise uninterrupted dialogue.
A Goddess in Terry Pratchett's Discworld series is referred to only as The Lady. It's made pretty clear that she's Lady Luck, but she disappears if you name her.
Most of the faculty of Unseen University are only known by their academic titles. Exceptions include the Archchancellors, Ponder Stibbons (who was originally introduced as a student) and Rincewind (originally introduced as not a wizard at all). In The Truth, the Bursar identified himself as Dr A. A. Dinwiddie, and Unseen Academicals revealed the Dean's first name as Henry. According to The Discworld Companion, the Librarian was probably called Dr Horace Worblehat when he was a human, but has put a lot of effort into keeping that quiet.
In Fred Saberhagen's Dominion there is an old man who goes by Talisman, an even older man who is a skid-row wino known variously as Feathers, Hawk ("Mr. Hawk to you"), and then Falcon, and a MacGuffin known as the Sword. The reader is never told outright who (or what) these are, but one can make a good guess. Feathers is a wino due to a curse put on him a long time ago by a certain Nimue (who is the villainess of the work), the Sword was once carried by a chieftian named Artos, and Talisman is introduced to Nimue at the end as "the Prince of Wallachia."
Legacy of the Dragokin: 'Man in Shadow' is not his name; he is only called this because he sounds like a man and always stands in the shadows.
Black Crown gives no name to the maid in 'Solace', nor any name to the land where the stories take place; other than referring to the 'North' and the 'Milvian Kingdom'. The Map on the series' website does little to clear this up.
The King and Queen of The Secret of Platform 13. Their son, likewise, is only ever called "the Prince" until he is abducted and raised by someone else, and apparently keeps that name even after being returned to his birth parents.
Decision Of Fate has both the protagonist student and his professor both unnamed.
The FBI agents in Donald Westlake's The Spy in the Ointment were never named. The protagonist mentally referred to them as Agent A, B, C, etc.
Kindling Ashes: Giselle doesn't know the name of her dragon initially, so she calls him "Voice".
The narrator of the Simon Ark stories never mentions what his own name is.
In Robert Littell's The Sisters, the name of the man the assassin is supposed to target is never given, and is only referred to as "the Prince of the Realm". It becomes clear as the novel goes on, however, that the target is John F. Kennedy.
In The Southern Reach Trilogy, expedition members are explicitly forbidden from telling each other their names. None of the characters in Annihilation are named, referring to each other only by their job titles: the biologist, the psychologist, the anthropologist, and the surveyor. Most of their names are revealed over the course of the next two novels, but the biologist refuses to ever give her real name, insisting that she be called by the nickname "Ghost Bird".
In The Death Gate Cycle, Haplo is a Patryn, a race of people who don't put a whole lot of stock on spoken namesnote Though Patryn magic works on the principle of I Know Your True Name, a Patryn's true name is written, not its spoken approximation and consequently characters who appear in flashbacks to his backstory are not named until/unless they enter the present story. Most obviously, Haplo's lover is always referred to as "the woman" and his mentor as "my lord" (their names are eventually revealed to be Marit and Xar, respectively), his long-dead biological parents are never named, and his Canine Companion is simply "dog".
In Shaman Blues, the hospital ghost who's Witkacy's informant never gives Witkacy his name, because he doesn't trust him not to send him back into the afterlife.
The protagonist of Blood Meridian is only known as "the Kid", and later as "the Man".
The protagonist of Roger Zelazny's My Name Is Legion is a secret agent who adopts a new false identity for each mission. In each story he is referred to by his current alias; his true name is never revealed.
The protagonist of Agatha Christie's The Mysterious Mr Quin is the elderly, and rather old-fashioned in manners, Mr Sattherthwaite. If he's on first-name basis with anybody it never comes up, and his given name is never revealed.
Junie B. Jones has a kindergarten teacher named Mrs. She has another name too but all Junie B. can remember is Mrs. The follow-up series Junie B. First Grader avoids this because her teacher does have a name—Mr. Scary.
Several characters in the Land of Oz series don't receive proper names, or at least, not until long after their first appearance. The Scarecrow and the Lion, arguably, don't have proper names while the Tin Man gains one in the first sequel (Nick Chopper), but rarely ever uses it, and the "Munchkin girl" whose guardian caused him to become tin in the first place has to wait even longer to get the name Nimmie Amee (though in her case, at least, this is when she gains any sort of significance to the story). Of the four witches of Oz, only Glinda is named. Same for the Wizard, who makes it up later when he's given the Overly Long Name Oscar Zoroaster Phadrig Isaac Norman Henkle Emmannuel Ambroise Diggs (note the initials). Minor characters from the Emerald City- a girl servant in the palace and the Soldier with Green Whiskers- are eventually dubbed Jellia Jamb and Omby Amby. Among characters who never receive names, we have Button-Bright, the Shaggy Man and his Brother.
Many characters in The Traitor Son Cycle, such as the King, the Wyrm, the Keeper of Dorling, The Red Knight, the Sossag matrons and Nita Qwan's wife, either don't tell anyone their first name or aren't given a name by the author.
In The Reader (2016), the Assassin and the Second have this happen to them as a matter of principle, though we later learn the Second's name is Mareah. The chief mate of the Current of Faith is also never named.
Evidently done as part of setting up a "names withheld to protect the innocent" Literary Agent Hypothesis in We Can't Rewind. The narrator goes out of his way to avoid naming a number of characters and—near the end—assures the readers he's been addressing throughout the book that "for reasons you can probably imagine," they're not going to find any government records concerning the people he does name either.
The Machineries of Empire: The snarky Nirai scientist who keeps an eye on Jedao and helps Cheris get used to having the undead general in her head never introduces himself, and if Jedao knows his name, he doesn't mention it to Cheris.
The Wandering Inn: The Necromancer, who killed millions on the continent, when he unleashed his legion of the undead, is only known as The Necromancer.
In Robert McCloskey's Homer Price and Centerburg Tales the town sheriff and judge are only ever referred to as "the sheriff" and "the judge," despite the former appearing as a supporting character in roughly half-a-dozen stories.
In "Paycheck" short story by Philip K. Dick, we're never told the protagonist's first name - he's consistently referred to only as "Jennings". The film adaptation gives him the name Michael.