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Posted May 6, 2016 by

Giving away the end of the novel at the beginning

Posted by Lale on 16/4/2015, 14:49:20

Vladimir Nabokov’s Laughter in the Dark opens with these words:

“Once upon a time there lived in Berlin, Germany, a man called Albinus. He was rich, respectable, happy; one day he abandoned his wife for the sake of a youthful mistress; he loved; was not loved; and his life ended in disaster.”

Can you think of other books that begin with giving a summary of the story to come? Or the ending?

Lale

laughter

Posted by Steve on 17/4/2015, 12:49:44, in reply to “Giving away the ending (or most of the plot) in the opening lines”

The Virgin Suicides by Jeffrey Eugenides opens as follows:

“On the morning the last Lisbon daughter took her turn at suicide—it was Mary this time, and sleeping pills—the two paramedics arrived at the house knowing exactly where the knife drawer was, and the gas oven, and the beam in the basement from which it was possible to tie a rope.”

virgin-suicides

Posted by Sterling on 18/4/2015, 14:37:11, in reply to “Re: Giving away the ending (or most of the plot) in the opening lines”

It’s often first-person narratives that do something like this, along the lines of “Let me tell you about how I met the woman who destroyed my marriage and landed me in jail for the rest of my life,” although I can’t think of any right now. My current favorite might be: “This is the saddest story I have ever heard.” from The Good Soldier, mostly for its mis-direction. First of all, if he’s telling the truth (a big “if” since he is a remarkably unreliable narrator) he didn’t “hear” it, he lived most of it. And second, although several deaths and terrible things happen, the overall effect of the novel is many things, but rarely “sad.”

goodsoldier2

Posted by Lale on 18/4/2015, 16:28:24, in reply to “Re: Giving away the ending (or most of the plot) in the opening lines”

I love these kinds of beginnings:

“Granted, I am an inmate in an insane asylum.” – The Tin Drum

Lale

the_tin_drum_cover

 

                                                               
                                                              

                                                           

 

                                                               


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