These paper boats of mine are meant to dance on the ripples of hours, and not reach any destination... Rabindranath Tagore

So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past...F. Scott Fitzgerald - The Great Gatsby

We were the people who were not in the papers. We lived in the blank white spaces at the edges of print. It gave us more freedom. We lived in the gaps between the stories.
On the way to the river are the old dormitories, used for something else now, with their fairy-tale turrets, painted white and gold and blue. When we think of the past it's the beautiful things we pick out. We want to believe it was all like that.
--from Margaret Atwood - The Handmaid's Tale

Reading is the sole means by which we slip, involuntarily, often helplessly, into another's skin, another's voice, another's soul.
- Joyce Carol Oates

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

The Midnight Zoo Begins

The Midnight Zoo (2010) - Sonya Hartnett
opens with the words:
If the old bell had been hanging in the steeple it would have rung to announce midnight, twelve solemn iron klongs which would have woken the villagers from their sleep and startled any small creature new to the village and unaccustomed to the noise. But the bell had fallen from its height weeks ago, and now lay buried in silence beneath rubble; no small creature foraged in corners, because every scrap had already been carried away in beak and mouth and paw; and no woken villagers lay grumbling, for the people, like their bell, were gone.

In my last post, Poetry of the Midnight Zoo, I wrote a poetic review of this book.
But that opening still haunts me.

The fall of the bell
Like the fall of living souls
Like a parched silence

Linking to:
Book Beginnings on Fridays


Chris Thompson said...

That really is a sad beginning. This looks like a good book. I'll add it to my to read list.

Here's my Book Beginning.

fiction-books said...

Hi Gemma,

I love those opening lines, so sad and haunting and such eloquent and descriptive writing.

I really needed to know more about the author and where all the people had gone to in this story.

I checked out several of Sonya's books, including 'The Midnight Zoo' and this is an author who I just have to read.

Whilst the issues that the individual books deal with are seemingly often quite violent or sad, the compassion in the writing is amazing.

Thanks so much for such an interesting post.


srivalli said...

Sad beginning! Wonder what happend to the people! Thanks for stopping by!

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