rogue rhetoric

random musings by michael d. durkota

Category: .: Flash Reviews

Flash Reviews Volume II

If you are unsure about what the hell I am doing, check out the first installment.

The Witch’s Lair, Lincoln Farish
“By noon, there had been three attempts to murder me.”

How could you possibly stop reading after that intro? Talk about a bad day. That’s the kind of day that should make you just go hide somewhere and hope that tomorrow will be better. This dude is not an accountant or a mechanic. Unless of course he is very very bad at either. I also highly doubt he is going to take my advice and hide.

Alpha Beta Poetry, Nicole Pierman
“Admire adamant affections, amity among allegiance, admit an admirer against all actions, and amour always, absolve.”

That’s a lot of fucking a’s. I was tempted to write an alliterative review but I gave up after “Pondering poetry, potent, portend, properly pure.” I was exhausted. Hats off to Nicole for her vision and discipline.

Rule of the Bone, Russell Banks
“You’ll probably think I’m making a lot of this up just to make me sound better than I really am or smarter or even luckier but I’m not.”

I picked this up at Riverrun Bookstore in Portsmouth, New Hampshire a few years ago. I immediately sensed a flavor of Catcher in the Rye, so I kept reading. I am usually wary of first-person child narratives written in dialect, but this one kept my attention. I spent the remainder of that afternoon reading beside the actual river.

We have flash fiction, why can’t we have flash reviews?

I love novels. I love first lines of novels. I also love bookstores. My dream is to be locked in a bookstore overnight. If I were, I would read the first line of every single book in the fiction section. Since I can’t reason through a series of events that would find me incarcerated at Barnes & Noble, I decided to exercise the fantasy (over time) on Amazon.

The rules: I will occasionally choose a novel from the Kindle bestsellers page or a random Indie novel from my Twitter feed. For each one I will record the first line and then provide my first impressions. I reserve the right to choose the first line from either the prologue or the first chapter. I like a little chaos.

Here’s three to get me started:

Rejected Writers Take the Stage, Suzanne Kelman

“Karen, the Southlea Bay library manager, approached the door with her key and stopped short before announcing through a clenched smile, “Doris alert.”

I don’t know if Karen is just a bitch or if Doris is really irritating. I am curious though. I also can’t avoid staring at the chapter title with wild anticipation: “Frozen Yetis & Scotch Tape Shenanigans.” In the history of the written word, never before have those words appeared even roughly in that order. Well Played, Suzanne. Well played.

 Unmasked, EM Kaplan
“The beast grabbed Mel with a gray-skinned hand and dragged her across the rutted dirt road.”

I just wish I had a better sense of the conflict here. Kidding. Seriously, there is a lot packed into these 16 words. I’m obviously worried about Mel. And I am equally intrigued by a world that has beasts with gray skin.

 All the Light We Cannot See, Anthony Doerr
“At dusk they pour from the sky.”

The chapter is titled ‘Leaflets,’ so really, the first sentence is a continuation. I don’t know if ‘pour’ is the best word to describe leaflets falling from the sky, but he won a fucking Pulitzer for this. Who am I to judge?

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