The Evening Road

TER

Laird Hunt

First Sentence:     I was working the crank on the new pencil sharpener, feeding it fresh Ticonderogas, trying to get the points just right.

Back of the book:

Meet Ottie Lee Henshaw, a startling, challenging beauty in small-town Indiana. Quick of mind, she navigates a stifling marriage, a lecherous boss, and on one day in the summer of 1930, an odyssey across the countryside to witness a dark and fearful event.

Meet Calla Destry, a young black woman desperate to escape the violence of her town, and to find the lover who has promised her a new life.

Every road leads to the bedlam of Marvel, a town where lives will collide and be changed forever. Reminiscent of the works of Louise Erdrich, Edward P. Jones and Marilynne Robinson, The Evening Road is the story of two remarkable women on the move through an America riven by fear and hatred, and eager to flee the secrets they have left behind.

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Last Sentence:     How about this one?

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The Pearl

The Pearl

John Steinbeck

FROM THE ARCHIVES

First Sentence:     Kino awakened in the near dark.

Back of the book:

‘In the town they tell the story of the great pearl – how it was found and how it was lost again. They tell of Kino, the fisherman, and of his wife, Juana, and of the baby, Coyotito. And because the story has been told so often, it has taken root in every man’s mind.’

The Pearl is Steinbeck’s heartbreaking short parable about wealth and the darkness and evil it can instill in even the most generous of men’s hearts.

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My Absolute Darling

index

Gabriel Tallent

First Sentence:     The old house hunkers on its hill, all peeling white paint, bay windows, and spindled wooden railings overgrown with climbing roses and poison oak.

Back of the book:

At 14, Turtle Alveston knows the use of every gun on her wall;
That chaos is coming and only the strong will survive it;
That her daddy loves her more than anything else in this world.
And he’ll do whatever it takes to keep her with him.

She doesn’t know why she feels so different from the other girls at school;
Why the line between love and pain can be so hard to see;
Why making a friend may be the bravest and most terrifying thing she has ever done
And what her daddy will do when he finds out …

Sometimes strength is not the same as courage.
Sometimes leaving is not the only way to escape.
Sometimes surviving isn’t enough.

Quote from the book:

She climbs out of the bus and walks to where the rabbit lays on the dirt. She collars its feet, slits it from anus to throat, pulls its fur off like a bloody sock, and pitches the pelt into the brush.

 

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The Bell Jar

TBJ

Sylvia Plath

FROM THE ARCHIVES

First Sentence:     It was a queer, sultry summer, the summer they electrocuted the Rosenbergs, and I didn’t know what I was doing in New York

Back of the book:

When Esther Greenwood wins an internship on a New York fashion magazine in 1953, she is elated, believing she will finally realise her dream to become a writer. But in between the cocktail parties and piles of manuscripts, Esther’s life begins to slide out of control. She finds herself spiralling into serious depression as she grapples with difficult relationships and a society which refuses to take her aspirations seriously.

Quotes from the book:

I took a deep breath and listened to the old brag of my heart. I am, I am, I am.

“Because wherever I sat—on the deck of a ship or at a street café in Paris or Bangkok—I would be sitting under the same glass bell jar, stewing in my own sour air.”

But when it came right down to it, the skin of my wrist looked so white and defenseless that I couldn’t do it. It was as if what I wanted to kill wasn’t in that skin or the thin blue pulse that jumped under my thumb, but somewhere else, deeper, more secret, and a whole lot harder to get.

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All That’s Left To Tell

ATLTT

Daniel  Lowe

First Sentence:     Now the sunrise.

Back of the book:

Every night, Marc Laurent, an American taken hostage in Pakistan, is bound and blindfolded. And every night, a woman he knows only as Josephine comes to visit him. At first, her questions are mercenary: who will pay for his release? But when Marc can offer no name, she asks him an even more difficult question: why didn’t he go home for his daughter’s funeral?

So begins a strange and yet comforting nightly ritual. Josephine tells Marc stories about what might have happened had Claire not been murdered. In turn, Marc begins to tell his own, in which his daughter is still alive. Soon, neither Marc nor Josephine are sure which stories are true and which are imagined, or even if it matters. And as they unfold — on a journey across America, into the past, and into a future that may never come — father and daughter start to find their way toward understanding each other once again.

Lyrical, seductive and utterly compelling, All That’s Left To Tell is a novel about second chances and the stories we tell to make sense of ourselves.

Quotes from the book:

“The blindfold left him increasingly vulnerable to memory because he couldn’t use his vision to distract himself with objects in the room.”

You know, you have those days in your life, and mostly it’s when you’re looking back, But every now and then, even at the time you’re living it, living in that minute, you say to yourself, ‘Well, I’ll just stay right here.’

“So when my father died, what happened is like you have Interstate 80 stretched out over a lifetime. But all those hours, all those weeks and months where nothing was happening, where you were living your life without even thinking about him, those spaces fall away, and the memories you do have slam into each other, one after another, and they’re moving too fast to stop.”

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