Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Foretold -- Three incredible beginnings of novels (In my beginning is my end)

FOG was so dense, bird that had been disturbed went flat into a balustrade and slowly fell, dead, at her feet.
     There it lay and Miss Fellowes looked up to where that pall of fog was twenty feet above and out of which it had fallen, turning over once.  She bent down and took a wing then entered a tunnel in front of her, and this had DEPARTURES lit up over it, carrying her dead pigeon. 

     -- Henry Green, Party Going, 1939


HUDDLED up in a cope of gold wrought silk he peered around.  Society had rallied in force.  A christening -- and not a child's.

     -- Ronald Firbank, Concerning The Eccentricities Of Cardinal Pirelli, 1926

Click!... Here it was again!  He was walking along the cliff at Hunstanton and it had come again...Click!...
     Or would the word 'snap' or 'crack' describe it better?
     It was a noise inside his head, and yet it was not a noise.  It was the sound a noise makes when it abruptly ceases:  it had a temporary deafening effect.  It was as though one had blown one's nose too hard and the outer world had suddenly become dim and dead.  And yet he was not physically deaf:  it was merely that in this physical way alone could he think of what had happened in his head.
     It was though a shutter had fallen.  It had fallen noiselessly, but the thing had been so quick that he could only think of it as a crack or a snap.  It had come over his brain as a sudden film, induced by a foreign body, might come over the eye. He felt that if only he could 'blink' his brain it would at once be dispelled.  A film. Yes, it was like the other sort of 'film' too -- a 'talkie'.  It was as though he had been watching a talking film, and all at once the sound-track had failed.  The figures on the screen continued to move, to behave more or less logically; but they were figures in a new, silent, indescribably eerie world.   Life, in fact, which had once been for him a moment ago a 'talkie', had all at once become a silent film.  And there was no music.
     He was not frightened, because by now he was used to it.

     -- Patrick Hamilton, Hangover Square, 1941

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