The OF Blog: Would this opener make you more or less likely to read the rest of the book?

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Would this opener make you more or less likely to read the rest of the book?

I'll leave the author out of it for now, but this is a just-released novel:

As for me, I don't dream, I am dream, and I can't look down and get a clear look at the process that brings me about from moment to moment.  That's deKlend over there.  I am here, and...he's there.

Imagine approaching a park bench, up on your right.  You crouch down not far from one end of the bench.  deKlend appears on the bench, one leg casually thrown over the other.  It's raining.  His right hand rests on his right thigh, and holds upright his capacitous umbrella.  The left elbow is cocked onto the back of the bench and a long, elegant left hand hangs in space.  The head and shoulders are nearly lost in the crosshatched shadow beneath the umbrella.  The rain falls straight to the ground, and the umbrella makes a column of rainless air.  He sits with his head tilted back a little, wearing an expression of self-satisfaction, although he might simply be enjoying himself.

deKlend is the type certain positions give rise to, or he likes to think he is, imagining he came into being like the figure between the shapes of a mobile.  An optical illusion, like the vase with two faces confronting each other, one day happens to twist in the breeze and there he is, with feline self-complaisance licking his hand and smoothing down his eyebrows and moustache.  No embarrassing memories.  No shameful home.

Feel free to guess the author, if you wish.


l.s. johnson said...

Yawn. Back on the shelf.

Next Friday said...

Definite yes, but for me it's not a very valid test - I know what book this is! I'm yet to get it though.

Larry said...

Yeah, this was just a long way of saying that a book by one of my favorite authors came out this week. By itself, the passage reveals almost nothing. But when viewed in light of the author's previous output...

l.s. johnson said...

dunno who it is, and isolated like this it reads to me as a bit too precious in style to stomach a book's worth, unless i had a strong recommendation.

Larry said...

True, which another reason why I sometimes post these opening excerpts without identifying the author. In this particular case, the novel is the just-released Celebrant by Michael Cisco and it seems to build upon his narrative approaches in his previous novels. He's one of my favorite writers of the weird fiction vein.

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