A Few More Pages blog hosts the meme Book Beginnings:

How to participate: Share the first line (or two) of the book you are currently reading on your blog or in the comments. Include the title and the author so we know what you’re reading. Then, if you feel so moved, let us know what your first impressions were based on that first line, and let us know if you liked or did not like the sentence. The link-up will be at A Few More Pages every Friday and will be open for the entire week.

I’m in the middle of two books, as is usual.

Though the evening breeze had chilled his back on the way across, it hadn’t yet begun its nightly job of sweeping out from among the island’s clustered vines and palm boles the humid air that the day had left behind, and Benjamin Hurwood’s face was gleaming with sweat before the black man had led him even a dozen yards into the jungle.

This is the start of the prologue to Tim Powers’ On Stranger Tides. It uses a rather typical reversal technique with the character: giving us just a pronoun “he” and what he’s feeling, seeing, and doing before giving his name. The sentence also established the place very well. Still, to me it feels overly long and hard to understand. We’re on stranger tides, indeed. 🙂

By day, the Nicollet Mall winds through Minneapolis like a paved canal. People flow between its banks, eddying at the doors of office towers and department stores.

The second book I’m reading has a short prologue, too; Emma Bull’s War for the Oaks. This one is more easily readable, to me, but just as evocative when Bull compares people to flowing water.

I liked both of the beginnings. Both raise expectations about the writing styles; Bull would have more to-the-point sentences with imaginative imagery while Powers’ would have a more flowery and long-winded style. However, Powers doesn’t use that style all the time.

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