concept to publication

Overwrought openings

Many great books begin on a quiet note — think of Tolstoy’s “All happy families resemble one another, each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way” or Ford’s “This is the saddest story I have ever heard,” for example.

But some writers take the opposite tack. I just encountered this extraordinary opening sentence to chapter one of The Perenial Garden by Jeff and Marilyn Cox:

When the dynosaurs shrieked in the primordial night, and the world’s highest law was to eat or be eaten, there were no flowers.

You won’t find a sentence like that in many gardening books (he shrieked).



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1 Comment

  1. What a great opening line! I’m not a gardener but that would make me want to read more. Plus, “dynosaurs”? There is no bad.

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