first paragraphs: Haruf, Petterson, Harding, Hagy

Friday, December 19, 2014

In the swell of fever and flu, my mind molten, my thoughts barely latching in, I read (not so random) first paragraphs of favorite books.

These for the melodies that do not interfere with the economy of the stories unveiled. For how, in mere lines, we know who we're in with, the stretch of the world, the mood, the names of the places or the insignificance of names.

Here was this man Tom Guthrie in Holt standing at the back window in the kitchen of his house smoking cigarettes and looking out over the back lot where the sun was just coming up. When the sun reached the top of the windmill, for a while he watched what it was doing, that increased reddening of sunrise along the steel blades and the tail vane above the wooden platform. After a time he put out the cigarette and went upstairs and walked past the closed door behind which she lay in bed in the darkened guest room sleeping or not and went down the hall to the glassy room over the kitchen where the two boys were. — Kent Haruf, Plainsong

Early November. It's nine o'clock. The titmice are banging against the window. Sometimes they fly dizzily off after the impact, other times they fall and lie struggling in the new snow until they can take off again. I don't know what they want that I have. I look out the window at the forest. There is a reddish light over the trees by the lake. It is starting to blow. I can see the shape of the wind on the water. — Per Petterson, Out Stealing Horses

George Washington Crosby began to hallucinate eight days before he died. From the rented hospital bed, placed in the middle of his own living room, he saw insects running in and out of imaginary cracks in the ceiling plaster. The panes in the windows, once snugly pointed and glazed, stood loose in their sashes. The next stiff breeze would topple them all and they would flop onto the heads of his family, who sat on the couch and the love seat and the kitchen chairs his wife had brought in to accommodate everyone. The torrent of panes would drive everyone from the room, his grandchildren in from Kansas and Atlanta and Seattle, his sister in from Florida, and he would be marooned on his bed in a moat of shattered glass. Pollen and sparrows, rain and the intrepid squirrels he had spent half of his life keeping out of the bird feeders would breach the house. — Paul Harding, Tinkers

She was a gift, though he did not think of her that way for a long time. He paid twelve hundred dollars for her, money that came straight from his single account at Cabin Valley Bank. She was halter broke, and trailer broke, and she had been wormed for the spring. Someone had taken a rasp to her feet. She had seen her dam, Sally's Quick Ticket, win more than one prize in cutting horse competitions.... — Alyson Hagy, Boleto


Serena said...

I hope that you find these paragraphs and reading calm you and feel better.

  © Blogger templates Newspaper II by 2008

Back to TOP