here are two of my favorite first paragraphs** (or first paragraphs from a few of my favorite novels/short stories). it could be that these first paragraphs*** were what caught my attention at the bookstore and made me buy the book; it’s even possible i bought the book without reading the first paragraph (or any part of the book), buying it instead based on the reputation of the author to entertain me or because they were recommended by someone whose opinion i trust (of course that has its own pitfalls, reading being as personal as it is, “oh robert, i just know you’ll love this book,” as they press it into your hands and it turns out to be the worst thing you’ve ever put before your eyes, but you feel obligated to slog through it, so you do and eventually you forgive your friend/acquaintance as your brain works to bury the memory of reading the last novel by ______ _____________.)
“The sea is high again today, with a thrilling flush of wind. In the midst of winter you can feel the inventions of Spring. A sky of hot nude pearl until midday, crickets in sheltered places, and now the wind unpacking the great planes, ransacking the great planes….” –Lawrence Durrell, “Justine”
“Something terrible happened.
“They are watching it on the screen with their after-dinner coffee cups beside them. It is Bosnia or Somalia or the earthquake shaking a Japanese island between apocalyptic teeth like a dog; whatever were the disasters of that time. When the intercom buzzes each looks at the other with a friendly reluctance; you go, your turn. It’s part of the covenant of living together. They made the decision to give up the house and move into this townhouse complex with grounds maintained and security-monitored entrance only recently and they are not yet accustomed, or rather are inclined momentarily to forget that it’s not the barking of Robbie and the old-fangled ring of the front door bell that summons them, now. No pets allowed in the complex, but luckily there was the solution that theirs could go to their son who has a garden cottage.” –Nadine Gordimer, “The House Gun”
*the name of the roses featured in the photographs
**in some cases there will be two paragraphs. (because it’s my blog and i’ll do as i please.)
***this may become a series as the mood strikes me.