mardi 18 septembre 2012

The mechanics of beginnings

Read many books since I last wrote here - discovered the detective novels of Batya Gur, the philosophical questions posed in Elie Wiesel, savoured The French Lieutenant's Woman - admired the easy unexpected dance of his contemporary narrator in a historical novel- read Jeanettes' Winterson's painful and thoughtful last book. But, right now, I am reading to write and examining with a magnifying glass how novels start : Kundera's Ignorance, Virginia Woolf's Mrs Dalloway. The mechanics of beginnings: through plot, character, form, feeling? The French Lieutenant's Woman opens to the image of the cob, a thin stone strip cutting into the sea, a couple walk, a woman waits. In this beginning, a triangular relationship, a landscape composed of architectural and natural elements, the foundations of the novel set in time and place. My favourite beginning, a book that you fall into as though diving into water, immediately plunged into another world - Pascal Mercier's Night train to Lisbon. You don't even want to come up for air! A man crosses a bridge, walking to work in the rain, a woman appears ready to leap from the bridge and then rushes towards him and writes telephone number on his forehead. Nothing is ever the same....

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