Saturday, 21 December 2013

Rasputin's Shadow by Raymond Khoury

Ural Mountains, Russian Empire

As the high-pitched shriek reverberated against the walls of the copper mine, Maxim Nikolaev felt an unusual pinch deep in his skull.

This line has character and conflict which raise questions. So this sentence works, then the rest of the first page fades back into ordinary sentences whose function is to describe or present back story.

Chapter 1:

Queens, New York City
Present day

The vodka didn't taste like much, not anymore, and that last swig had scorched his throat like acid, but that didn't stop him from wanting more.

Opening with drinking has now been added to our list of cliched openings. I am seeing it enough to warrant the addition. It doesn't do much. Unless this is an alcoholic, it doesn't establish character. It suggests a problem if the person is drinking to forget something but fails to present a concrete problem, something we can shake the bottle at. What follows in this case is a preamble about this being a bad day of many bad days. I'd rather see this than be told. The first few pages go on with telling, back story and overly sentimental exhibitions of suffering.

First thing said in chapter 1:

"That's right!"

Verdict: Pass (barely)

Because the prologue does raise some questions.

Theodore Moracht

No comments:

Post a Comment