Monday, 24 February 2014

The Obituary Writer by Ann Hood

If Claire had to look back and decide why she had the affair in the first place, she would point to the missing boy.

A couple problems/conflicts are suggested with this opening line that raises questions and kicks a plot into motion. So as an opening line this is effective and hooks. Unfortunately the writer can't resist a weather report in the second sentence:

This was in mid-June, during those first humid days when the air in Virginia hangs thick.

It is a pure setting sentence: time, weather and place. What follows is a slow roundabout way of getting to the point (inciting event, conflict etc.) with description and back story disguised as forward narrative, which is a good way of making back story seem more interesting. If you like this, (being eased into a story) then read on. I don't like it - at least not on the first page.

First thing said:

"Bad Mommy."

I do like the first thing said, because despite its simplicity, it does reveal character.

Verdict: Pass 

Theodore Moracht

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