Saturday, 10 May 2014
Natchez Burning by Greg Iles
"If a man is forced to choose between the truth and his father, only a fool choose the truth."
Starting with a quote from someone else is not a good way to begin your novel, unless you've made up the quote yourself. In this case, the quote is unusual enough to interest because it is obviously wrong.
The next line:
A great writer said that, and for a long time I agreed with him.
Personally, I think only a great fool would agree with whoever that great writer is, so inadvertently we have some character being revealed - that of a dummy wising up. The paragraph continues by explaining that that quote at the beginning is not so wise after all.
The prologue then swings into a huge two-pound back story dump with characters once saying things...
Part One, 1964-1968:
Albert Norris sang a few bars of Howlin' Wolf's "Natchez Burnin'" to cover the sounds of the couple making love in the back of his shop.
Do people really use that term making love nowadays? That's hardly what I would call it after reading on and learning some more about the situation. Anyway, this opening line attracts some attention and leads the reader into action and character right away. The conflict seems to be that a white woman and a black man are secretly meeting in the shop and other white folk are on the verge of finding out. Since they're in the South and it's in the 60's, it's an awkward situation, and we can't help but read on.
First thing said:
Labels: 3-star pass