And So Tonight

Light gleaming off the floor, sweet vanilla smell drifting from the oven, the kitchen appliances offering a background hum to the quick stuttering dialogue of the old movie SA is watching.

I recently got mad at a book for giving me a three page prologue, three pages more than I wanted, three pages that were all about setting the scene with lots of tree descriptions (Canadian Lit, natch) and sweeping vistas, as though the author was hoping for a screenplay option as much as a Giller. I grumbled my way through these three pages, skipping most of it, intending to hate the entire novel, well, intending to abandon it at page four because I don’t have time to read things I don’t like, but finding that the first page of chapter one was gripping, far more gripping than I expected. Now I am 3/4 of the way through and loving it, can’t wait to get back up to my bed, where my book is waiting.

If I were a student of literature again, the prologue of this novel would be up for discussion. There would be themes and symbols and we would unearth them from the descriptions of the sky and water. We would see intention where perhaps there had been some, where perhaps there had been none. Does the author try to push us away, the way Our Hero pushes away those he loves? Is there some subtle purpose behind the inclusion of totally unnecessary landscape writing? Compare and contrast with latest episode of Grey’s Anatomy and ridiculous overuse of voice-over in general.

But I am not a student of literature again and all I see is that I almost didn’t keep reading past page three.

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