Moonstone

moonstone

Sjón

First Sentence:     The October evening is windless and cool.

Back of the book:  

The year is 1918 and in Iceland the erupting volcano Katla can be seen colouring the sky night and day from the streets of Reykjavik. Yet life in the small capital carries on as usual, despite the natural disaster, a shortage of coal and, in the outside world, the Great War grinding on.

There, sixteen-year-old Máni Steinn lives for the new fashion – the movies. Asleep he dreams altered versions of them, their tapestry of events threaded with strands from his own life. Awake he hovers on the fringes of society. But then the Spanish flu epidemic comes ashore, killing hundreds and driving thousands into their sick beds. The shadows of existence deepen and for Máni everything changes.

Capturing Iceland at a moment of profound transformation, this is the story of a misfit in a place where life and death, reality and imagination, secrets and revelations jostle for dominance. With not a word wasted, this mesmerising and original novel is the work of a major international writer.

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The Boy Who Stole Attila’s Horse

9781782271017Iván Repila

First Sentence:     ‘It looks impossible to get out,’ he says.

Back of the book:

‘It looks impossible to get out,’ he says. And also: ‘But we’ll get out.’

Two brothers, Big and Small, are trapped at the bottom of a well. They have no food and little chance of rescue. Only the tempting spectre of insanity offers a way out. As Small’s wits fail, Big formulates a desperate plan.

With the authority of the darkest fables, and the horrifying inevitability of all-too-real life, Repila’s unique allegory explores the depths of human desperation and, ultimately, our almost unending capacity for hope.

Quote from the book:

Big remains silent, though his breathing has quickened and his heart is pumping acid. He locks his jaw hard, grinding his teeth and making the nerves in the gums between his teeth ring. It’s a pleasant kind of pain, which suppresses the scream building up inside him. A scream like a lump of food in the stomach after a heavy meal.

And willing the wind to carry consonants and vowels across the night, and for his words to penetrate further than any scream could reach, he whispers:

‘I’m going to kill you.’

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The Narrow Road to the Deep North

the narrow road to the deep north - richard flanaganRichard Flanagan

First Sentence:     Why at the beginning of things is there always light?

Back of the book:

Forever after, there were for them only two sorts of men: the men who were on the Line, and the rest of humanity, who were not.

In the despair of a Japanese POW camp on the Burma Death Railway, surgeon Dorrigo Evans is haunted by his love affair with his uncle’s young wife two years earlier. Struggling to save the men under his command from starvation, from cholera, from beatings, he receives a letter that will change his life forever.

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Doctor Sleep

doctor-sleepStephen King

First Sentence:     On the second day of December in a year when a Georgia peanut farmer was doing business in the White House, one of Colorado’s great resort hotels burned to the ground.

Back of the book:

On highways across America, a tribe of people called The True Knot travel in search of sustenance. They look harmless – mostly old, lots of polyester, and married to their RVs. But as Dan Torrance knows, and tween Abra Stone learns, The True Knot are quasi-immortal, living off the ‘steam’ that children with the ‘shining’ produce when they are slowly tortured to death.

Haunted by the inhabitants of the Overlook Hotel where he spent one horrific childhood year, Dan has been drifting for decades, desperate to shed his father’s legacy of despair, alcoholism and violence. Finally, he settles in a New Hampshire town, an AA community that sustains him and a job at a nursing home where his remnant ‘shining’ power provides the crucial final comfort to the dying. Aided by a prescient cat, he becomes ‘Doctor Sleep.’

Then Dan meets the evanescent Abra Stone, and it is her spectacular gift, the brightest shining ever seen, that reignites Dan’s own demons and summons him to a battle for Abra’s soul and survival . . .

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The Goldfinch

goldfinch

 Donna Tartt

First Sentence:     While I was still in Amsterdam, I dreamed about my mother for the first time in years.

Back of the book:

Winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction 2014

Aged thirteen, Theo Decker, son of a devoted mother and a reckless, largely absent father, survives an accident that otherwise tears his life apart. Alone and rudderless in New York, he is taken in by the family of a wealthy friend. He is tormented by an unbearable longing for his mother, and down the years clings to the thing that most reminds him of her: a small, strangely captivating painting that ultimately draws him into the criminal underworld. As he grows up, Theo learns to glide between the drawing rooms of the rich and the dusty antiques store where he works. He is alienated and in love – and his talisman, the painting, places him at the centre of a narrowing, ever more dangerous circle.

Quotes from the book:

But sometimes, unexpectedly, grief pounded over me in waves that left me gasping; and when the waves washed back, I found myself looking out over a brackish wreck which was illumined in a light so lucid, so heartsick and empty, that I could hardly remember that the world had ever been anything but dead.

‘Whenever she smiled at me Heaven blew in.’

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