If you read often you may know what I mean here. Starting some books makes you breathe a sigh of relief; an almost physical sensation of melting occurs. Particularly if you have recently struggled through a book which has failed to keep your attention, there is sometimes that wonderful moment, when you move on to the next book, and within three lines, or a page at the most, you know it is going to be wonderful.
That is how I feel about The Garden of Evening Mists:
I don’t know whether authors are aware of the importance of that first page. I would guess they probably are. For me, so often, that first page tells me everything I need to know. It warms my heart, or makes me want to explore further. Or conversely it bores me, or confuses me. Now sometimes my immediate reaction to that first page can be misleading (see ref. Bring up the Bodies) but more often than not, that initial, gut instinct, is correct. This may be something to do with my approach to life. I’d be intrigued to know whether others have a more ‘sit back and wait’ point of view.
The Garden of Evening Mists ‘had me from hello’.
Not only does it open with a quote about memory – and I love a good quote and am fascinated by memory – but the opening line won my heart:
“On a mountain above the clouds lived a man who had been the gardener of the Emperor of Japan.”
It’s like when you begin a potential romance and you just can’t stop thinking about them, or talking about them. That’s why I had to blog about this, even though really, if I were being rational, it is too early to tell. But reading is not a rational thing. If it ever becomes rational, give it up.