First Lines Fridays is a weekly feature for book lovers hosted by Wandering Words. What if instead of judging a book by its cover, its author or its prestige, we judged it by its opening lines?
- Pick a book off your shelf (it could be your current read or on your TBR) and open to the first page
- Copy the first few lines, but don’t give anything else about the book away just yet – you need to hook the reader first
- Finally… reveal the book!
I hope everyone has had a good week so far. I thought it was high time I took part in First Lines Friday again. As usual the answer is below the cat pictures.
I went to the dance with Thomas Toofat. It’s Toogood really, but he is too fat, with frizzy hair and flat feet. We never meant to let him know we call him that, but the week before, at the Turners’ picnic, Sally said without thinking, ‘And this is Thomas Toofat…’ Oh, it was utterly withering.Get guessing
Midsummer Night in the Workhouse by Diana Athill
“I can remember in detail being hit by my first story one January morning in 1958.” So begins literary legend Diana Athill in the preface to Midsummer Night in the Workhouse, a long-overdue collection of her short fiction, originally published in the 1950s to the 1970s.
In unsentimental though often touching prose, Athill’s young women anticipate, enjoy, or just miss out on brief sexual encounters with men met on trains, at parties — just about anywhere they can. A cheating wife, back with her boring husband, is wracked with agonizing love for the unavailable partner of her brief fling; a writer seeks inspiration at a writers’ retreat whilst avoiding the group seducer’s invitation; a wife’s party flirtations propel her possessive husband into another woman’s bed; two fun-loving women face a sinister sexual assault during a Greek holiday; a teenager experiences enraptured detachment during her first kiss.
Beautifully written, perceptive, touching, and funny, Midsummer Night in the Workhouse is Diana Athill at her best.
Did anybody guess correctly?
Please drop me a comment with your First Line Friday and I will head over for a visit.