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Posts Tagged ‘excerpt’

great opening lines: iris’s ocean

Posted by rollinsloane on 8 December 2007

I’m a sucker for a head-turning opening line, and Iris Murdoch’s The Sea, The Sea delivers a first-page paragraph that sucks you effortlessly into her tome-sized psuedo-memoir novel.  I’d be an asshole to wax poetic on the very subject she so painterly sets up, but suffice it to say I’ve got my own nostalgic soft spot for the gunmetal grey of a northern sea:

The sea which lies before me as I write glows rather than sparkles in the bland May sunshine.  With the tide turning, it leans quietly against the land, almost unflecked by ripples or by foam.  Near to the horizon it is a luxurious purple, spotted with regular lines of emerald green.  At the horizon it is indigo.  Near to the shore, where my view is framed by rising heaps of humpy yellow rock, there is a band of lighter green, icy and pure, less radiant, opaque however, not transparent.  We are in the north, and the bright sunshine cannot penetrate the sea.  Where the gentle water taps the rocks there is still a surface skin of colour.  The cloudless sky is very pale at the indigo horizon which it lightly pencils in with silver.  Its blue gains towards the zenith and vibrates there.  But the sky looks cold, even the sun looks cold. 

 — Rafe


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