Wednesday, 4 December 2013

A Treacherous Paradise by Henning Mankell

One day in the cold month of July, 2002, a man by the name of Jose Paulo opened up a hole in a rotten floor.

Besides the honorable mention of weather, this line induces a little curiosity. Perhaps there is a body down there. However, the rest of the first paragraph explains that opening this hole is being done only to use the floorboards as firewood, so my imagination had leapfrogged over the sentence. Perhaps that was the intention, to create a little misdirection? What follows is a back story dump about Paulo - a typical prologue report.

Chapter 1:

It was 1904.

Couldn't this have been a subtitle to chapter 1, instead of serving as the opening line of a book? Next line:


Couldn't this second line have been integrated into the first? As in: It was June, 1904 - which, doesn't make the the opening any better, mind you.

A scorching hot tropical dawn.

In the end, the first paragraph is broken into three sentence fragments with the purpose of giving us another weather report - all melodramatic like.

First thing said:

"It's been lying there under the floorboards for ages."

So there is something under the floorboards. Well, that's something, but I have already passed judgement. I'm giving this a fail. There is no excuse for starting both prologue and chapter 1 with weather.

Verdict: Fail

Theodore Moracht

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