Friday, 31 January 2014

The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd

There was a time in Africa the people could fly.

You have to read it twice and the rest of page 1 to understand that the narrator struggles with English grammar. So the first thing I'm hoping for is that whoever this narrator is, he or she better be a dynamic character, that is, one who changes in the course of a story - the first change being he or she learns how to write properly, or hire an editor. This is just a little too much reality in my fiction. A character being tortured and having their guts skewered over an open fire I can handle, but a narrator speakin' in so bad, ain't no good no how, 'cause it hard take meanin'. The only exception is Pygmy.

Other than the reality of the uneducated style of the narrative voice, this is an effective opening line. Unusual enough to attract attention and works well in conjunction with the title, which is always nice. Not so many opening lines work with their respective titles to create an effective hook.

The rest of the first section on page 1 is fascinating as characters are revealed and we are all reminded of the magic of childhood - that everything is possible.

First thing said:

"Handful, your grannymauma saw it for herself."

I like the name of the narrator, it reveals something about the child, Handful. If I ever have kids I now know what I will call them all.

Verdict: Pass

Theodore Moracht

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