Monday, February 18, 2008

Literary Lines on Page 123: A Meme

The eminently readable and highly entertaining (and informative!) Polly over at Polly-Vous Français tagged me for a fun meme that only took a few moments of thought to put into action -- now this was something I could handle, for once! I'm not the most frequent blog-poster, as I'm fully aware, but I have this ridiculous habit of overthinking everything before "putting it out there". At least with this one I could go with my gut -- and with what was waiting patiently for my attention on my bedside table!

Without hesitation, I picked up the first book on the top of the pile -- and trust me, that pile is mounting by the days, weeks and months, and is threatening to topple over at any moment -- and turned to page 123, as Polly instructed. I was meant to read the first five sentences, and then share the following three sentences here with you on the blog.

For some quick background on my book choice, and the reason behind its placement on my to-be-read pile, some of you may know that I very recently attended Tatiana de Rosnay's reading from her book Sarah's Key at the Village Voice on February 7th. The evening was emotionally intense and intellectually stimulating at the same time, and it included a highly successful reading and subsequent discussion. There was a crowd of fans of both her French and English editions of the book, and after reading an excerpt in English, Tatiana's translator also read a bit from the French edition. Some of you may also already know that Tatiana has several blogs, one of which is her English-language blog, Fig Tree Franglais, on which she writes about recent experiences, musings and reflections, her travels, progress on her upcoming novel -- plus much more! Sarah's Key has been getting excellent reviews and has now been translated into 20 languages (if i'm not mistaken) -- and counting! I've been wanting to read it ever since I first read about it for the first time on Maîtresse's blog a few months ago. That's when I first discovered Tatiana's blog as well. Sarah's Key has a blog of its own, where you can read much more about the novel, updates on latest editions, press reviews, etc. And now I finally have a copy of my own, and a signed copy at that! Tatiana is just as lovely in person as on her blog, and I'm so pleased to have had an opportunity to meet her.

So, without further ado, feast your eyes on a few (the 6th, 7th and 8th!) lines from page 123:

"I leaned forward over the table.
'If I gave you an exact address, could you help me trace a family? A family that was arrested in Paris on 16 July 1942?'"

That was quite a hook there, wasn't it? I know I can't wait to read it... And if I can only make it through to the end of Atonement (whose page 123, coincidentally, I just read this morning -- another good one!), Sarah's Key will be my next long-anticipated novel to be read!

And just because, like Polly, I couldn't resist, I decided to share three lines from page 123 of the next novel in my pile, Nancy Huston's Lignes de faille, for my French-loving readers (which, incidentally, I have in the Babel livre de poche edition, and in fact the three requisite lines continue on the top of page 124 -- I love Actes sud's Babel collection and the highly "aerated" pages, but it's intriguing to note how few sentences fit on one page! And also to note the difference in authors' sentence length at this stage in the book...):

"Je mange mes corn-flakes le plus lentement possible parce que maman m'a interdit de quitter la table : 'On n'est pas chez nous, alors il faut être sage comme une image aujourd'hui, d'accord?' Mon regard volette de-ci de-là, j'ai l'impression d'être enfermé dans une espèce de maison de poupée. Partout où je pose les yeux : meubles et bibelots, coussins et napperons brodés, bols en cristal taillé, statuettes, photos et tableaux encadrés sur les murs couverts de papier peint à fleurs, chaque centimètre carré est occupé et décoré et je voudrais être une tortue Ninja pour donner des coups de pied de poing de bras à droite à gauche et m'en aller de là, vlan ! bing ! bang ! bong ! - ou, mieux encore, Superman : il suffit de lever le bras et on est propulsé dans les airs comme une fusée, le toit se déchire et on fonce à grande vitesse vers le ciel bleu limpide."

And now it's my turn to do some tagging: oh, let's see, who might be up for this? Tatiana, if you happen to stop by and have a moment, I'd love to know what you're going to be reading next. And let's also hear from Meredith at Poppy Fields, La Page Française, and my literary inspiration, Maîtresse!


maitresse said...

avec plaisir! I saw someone do this on their blog, someone I didn't know at all, and was tempted to do it too but didn't want to play by myself :) thanks for asking me to play!

lapagefrancaise said...

This was fun! Thanks for including me in the meme. I am now intrigued about Sarah's Key, will have to check it out.

tjhirst said...

I don't know how I am came across your blog, but at some point I bookmarked you. Hope you don't mind . . . Your three line snippet wasn't what intrigue me about Sarah's Key but it was your lead in that did it. Thanks for sharing with another late bloomer.

Badaude said...

It's so great to have you on board the automatic book! Could you leave your meme quote as a comment on my post - that might work best - and as soon as I have a few, I'll post a link to a page of the project 'in development' (ie each time I receive a new quote, I'll add it so you can see how the 'story' grows)?

Anonymous said...

Извините за офф-топик, не подскажете, где можно такой же симпатичный шаблон для блога взять?

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