The shortlist for the Booker Prize 2011 includes a range of books surprisingly readable books.
I spent some time examining the opening sentences of the shortlisted books.
The 'Hook' is crafted to launch the story, to set the tone, or to introduce the voice of character.
I get put off when the opening sentence reads like a road map.
I like it when the author has disguise the barb to hook the readers' attention and drag them on into the depths of the world created by the words - and between the lines - on every page of the book.
THE BOOKER PRIZE 2011:
AD Miller – Snowdrops
I smelled it before I saw it.
Julian Barnes – The Sense of an Ending
I remember, in no particular order:
- a shiny inner wrist;
- steam rising from a wet sink as a hot frying pan is laughingly tossed into it;
- gouts of sperm circling a plughole before being sluiced down the full length of a tall house;
- a river rushing nonsensically upstream, its wave and wash lit by half a dozen chasing torch beams;
- another river, broad and grey, the direction of its flow disguised by a stiff wind exciting the surface;
- bathwater long gone cold behind a locked door.
Carol Birch – Jamrach’s Menagerie
I was born twice.
Patrick deWitt – The Sisters Brothers
I was sitting outside the Commodore’s mansion, waiting for my brother Charlie to come out with news of the job.
Esi Edugyan – Half Blood Blues
Chip told us not to go out.
Stephen Kelman – Pidgeon English
You could see the blood.
IF YOU KNEW NOTHING ELSE ABOUT EACH BOOK, WHICH ‘HOOK’ HAS ATTRACTED YOUR ATTENTION ENOUGH TO MAKE YOU FIND OUT MORE AND TO READ ON?
I know using first person - I - is designed to give immediacy but for me, reading these, I'm drawn to the word "You".