Saturday, 15 March 2014

Boy, Snow, Bird by Helen Oyeyemi

Nobody ever warned me about mirrors, so for many years I was fond of them, and believed them to be trustworthy.

This line works because it suggests that mirrors lie, either that, or something is wrong with them, or there is something wrong with the narrator. Either way, this line raises a questions and makes the reader curious  - at least a little. Intriguing might be the right word. So this hooks.

But the key to a great opening isn't only the first line, even though our judgement here at Hook My Brain is based primarily on the opening line. In this novel,  what follows is further explanation of the mirror motif. Overall, the first paragraph holds my attention, as the narrator talks about how he/she stood between mirrors to gaze upon the many "me's".

Unfortunately, by the second paragraph this opening plunges into back story and the paragraphs become long, dense and descriptive as the author loses herself in the writing process. As a writer, I sympathize; as a reader, I cringe. However on the plus side there is some conflict in the back story - back story that goes on and on and on and on, and only ended when my free online sample mercifully ended.

First thing said (in a back story scene):

"Can't afford it."

Verdict: Pass (barely)

The opening line and paragraph are worth at least that, and there are no obvious cliches so that is worth something.

Rudy Globird

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