First Lines Fridays is a weekly feature for book lovers that was originally hosted by Emma @ (the apparently, now defunct) Wandering Words (don’t click on the link, it isn’t there anymore). I’ve seen this on several blogs over the years, and some of my fellow bloggers are still doing it, so I guess it has a life of its own now! I don’t have a book review for today (and not even a DNF to tell you about), so I’m joining in again! The premise is:
What if, instead of judging a book by its cover, its author or its prestige, we judged it by its opening lines? To participate, you only need to do three things:
- Pick a book off your shelf (it could be your current read or on your TBR) and open to the first page
- Copy the first few lines, but don’t give anything else about the book away just yet – you need to hook the reader first
- Finally… reveal the book!
Simple, right? So, without any further ado…
Here are the opening paragraphs…
She stands up in the garden where she has been working and looks into the distance. She has sensed a shift in the weather. There is another gust of wind, a buckle of noise in the air, and the tall cypresses sway. She turns and moved uphill towards the house, climbing over a low wall, feeling the first drops of rain on her bare arms. She crosses the loggia and quickly enters the house.
In the kitchen she doesn’t pause but goes through it and climbs the stairs which are in darkness and then continues along the long hall, at the end of which is a wedge of light from an open door.
She turns into the room which is another garden – this one made up of trees and bowers painted over its walls and ceiling. The man lies on the bed, his body exposed to the breeze, and he turns his head slowly towards her as she enters.
Do these first lines intrigue you? Do you want to know what book this excerpt comes from? Here are a few hints:
- It was the 4th novel by this author, who also published a memoir, and three books of poetry before this.
- In 1992 this novel won the Man Booker Prize, and The Governor General’s Award for English-language fiction.
- In 1996 it was made into a multiple-award winning, major motion picture.
- In 2018 it was awarded the Golden Man Booker Prize. This was a special award established that year to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the prestigious British literary prize, and it was voted by the public as the best book to win the Man Booker Prize, which was first awarded in 1969.
Have you figured it out yet? To see if you’re right, please scroll down…
Have you guessed that this is from “The English Patient” by Michael Ondaatje? I bet you did (and I bet you remember that I really disliked the movie)! Well, I couldn’t resist doing a FLF for this book, which I still believe is my #1 favorite novel. I love this book so much that I’ve never been able to properly review it. While this opening is very evocative, with a whole lot of showing, and not even a touch of telling, the book gets even more amazing! One day I’ll re-read this book, and maybe then I’ll be able to write a proper review. But until then, you will just have to do with this!
3 thoughts on “TCL’s First Lines Friday #3 for March 25, 2022!”
No, I didn’t guess it was The English Patient and yes, the first lines do intrigue me.
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It’s one of my top 10 Booker winners – like you I found it hard to review. Have you read In the Skin of A Lion which includes some of the same characters?
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Yes, I have, and I’ve reviewed it here. I’ve reviewed all his books except for this and his poetry book, The Cinnamon Peeler, which is the only book of his poetry I have.