Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Tuesday Intro: The All of It

Thomas Dunn, the head ghillie at the Castle, wasn't telling Father Declan anything he didn't already know: the river was too high and wild from all the rains, and the salmon, therefore, not moving, just lying on the bottom, not showing themselves at all, and the midges terrible, and only two days left to the season so of course all but the least desirable of the river-beats, number Four, was let already; "and Frank and Peter'll be ghillieing for the Americans stayin' at the castle Father, so I'll have to give you Seamus O'Connor and he's hardly worth the pay and that on top of the twenty pounds for the beat and you know yourself, Father, how beat Four is after a rainfall such as we've been having, the piers awash and banks slippery as grease. If you'd given me a bit more notice, if I'd but known you had it in your mind to come for the day, I'd have---" 
The long-distance connection was weak; that, and Thomas' nattering on and on, discouraging, all but took the last of Father Declan's heart. Still, he'd do it. "I know all you're telling me, Thomas," he bawled into the mouthpiece of the parish-house phone, "I know. But I'll take beat Four and Seamus O'Connor with it, though I don't need him."
The All of It
by Jeanette Haien

Although the opening paragraph doesn't do much for me, I'm confident things will improve. I learned about this book in one of Ann Patchett's essays and the book description (from amazon) certainly sounds promising:
Jeannette Haien’s award-winning first novel relates the seemingly simple tale of a parishioner confiding in her priest, but the tangled confession brings secrets to light that provoke a moral quandary for not only the clergyman, but the reader as well. Set in a small town in Ireland, Haien’s intimate novel of conversations and dilemmas—perfect for readers of Paul Harding’s Tinkers, Marilynne Robinson’s Gilead, and Flannery O’Connor’s Wise Blood—is “an elegantly written, compact and often subtle tale of morality and passion that gives voice to an age-old concern in a fresh way” (NewYork Times Book Review). Harper Perennial breathes new life into this 1986 classic in a new edition with an introduction by Ann Patchett.
There is a one-paragraph author's note at the beginning explaining "In Ireland, stretches of a salmon river which run through privately owned lands are divided by the owner into sections, called "beats". Beats are rented by the owner by the day , to an angler. The angler is called a "rod". A "ghillie" (or "gillie") is a servant who attends the rod."

I certainly appreciated that information.

What do you think? Would you keep reading?


Every Tuesday, Diane at Bibliophile by the Sea posts the opening paragraph (sometime two) of a book she decided to read based on the opening. Feel free to grab the banner and play along.

50 comments:

  1. I am wary of Patchett after the last book - I think I would wait for reviews! LOL

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    1. LOL, Jill! I read half of it this morning and liked it much better than the opening.

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  2. I love the cover! And strangely, I learned what a ghillie is just yesterday reading a different book. Lol. I look forward to your review, this book sounds like it could be interesting!

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    1. Quixotic Magpie - What a coincidence! I know I've come across the word ghillie before, but didn't remember what it meant.

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  3. I'm not sure this one is for me, but hope you enjoy it! I started to glaze over at all the Irish brogue in the intro. I'm sure I would get used to it as the book went on though...

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    1. Sarah - This is a very quiet novel and, so far, much better than the opening.

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  4. I like an Irish setting but I agree that the opening doesn't completely pull me in. Yet, I might read a little more to see where it goes.

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    1. Beth F - I don't think this opening really gives a sense of what is to come.

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  5. I love that the author included a little information so you don't spend a few pages having to figure it out. I agree the book doesn't pull me in but I do love an Irish setting. I think I may wait for your review on this one!

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    1. Katherine - It's been a while since I've read a book set in Ireland. This is turning out to be a good read!

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  6. I like the premise of the story, but I got lost in the wordiness of the intro. I'm on the fence about this one. I can see myself wavering, though, because we seem to enjoy the same kinds of books. :)

    My Tuesday post: http://www.bookclublibrarian.com/2014/06/first-chapter-first-paragraph-66-and.html

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    1. Catherine - This intro definitely does not do justice to what lies ahead. It's not quite as wordy after this.

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  7. What a great cover! But the opening really hasn't hooked me. Hope you are enjoying the book, though!
    Today I'm featuring 'Elizabeth is Missing' by Emma Healey.
    http://mytime2read.blogspot.com/2014/06/tuesday-memes-elizabeth-is-missing.html

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    1. Kim - Funny how sometimes the opening doesn't really give you any idea of what lies ahead...

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  8. I like the sounds of this one and I love the cover! Good choice!

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    1. Yvonne - The cover makes me wish I had it in print instead of on my kindle paperwhite ;-)

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  9. I am a fan of Ann Patchett, so her recommendation makes me want to read this one. Thanks for sharing...and for visiting my blog.

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    1. Laurel-Rain Snow - I'm a big Patchett fan, too. Her stamp of approval is enough to make me want to read this book!

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  10. I think the cover is stunning :) I want to be rowed around in that boat. I'd row myself but then I wouldn't be able to read, ha.

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    1. Jennifer - Maybe we could take turns reading and rowing ;-)

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  11. Hmm, I noticed the intro is by Ann Patchett, so that gives the story a boost in my opinion. I love books set in Ireland, but the beginning is somewhat wordy, and perhaps the story will take more concentration than I could give it during the summer. I will wait for your review to learn more. Thanks for sharing a new to me title.

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    1. Rita - It's a quieter novel, but so far doesn't seem to require more than the usual amount of concentration.

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  12. Like you, I didn't feel excited about the beginning. I think the cover is beautiful, and I do trust Ann Patchett. Hope it gets better.

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    1. Tea - The cover and Ann Patchett's intro have hooked me despite the opening paragraphs!

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  13. I would have to read a bit more to decide.

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    1. Nise' - I can understand why ;-)

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  14. Not a fan of that opening, yet I am still curious AND I do like Ann Patchett so I might read more. Cover is so nice.

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    1. Diane - This has turned into a very nice, quiet read.

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  15. I agree, the opening isn't the best, but the description has me curious!

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    1. Literary Feline - There hasn't been much fishing since that opening scene.

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  16. The cover is lovely, and I'm so jealous of the author getting a foreward by Joann Patchett. Here's Mine

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    1. Paulita - I just had to look it up, but Ms. Haien passed away in 2008, so she will never know her book was honored with a forward from Ann Patchett. So sad.

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  17. Yeah, the opening doesn't really grab me either, but I'd probably continue to see where it goes.

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    1. Diana - It's turning into a quite story of a family with secrets - very good.

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  18. The opening doesn't grab me but maybe it'll get better.

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    1. Vasilly - At the halfway mark now and it has definitely improved.

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  19. I like the premise of the book but I wasn't pulled in by the first paragraph. I did, however, learn two new words in that long one sentence opener, so I can't down it too much.

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    1. Margot - I'm about 50% done and the opening almost seems like it doesn't belong with the rest of the book.

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  20. Not a grab you opening but the synopsis would surely make me want to read it. I'm Pinning it so I won't forget!

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    1. Peggy Ann - I think the synopsis is a better gauge than the opening.

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  21. I would keep reading. It sounds interesting, and I tend to like books with pastors (preachers, priests) as characters.

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    1. Carol - I do, too, and have a feeling this book will lead me to the two other "preacher" books on my tbr pile - Gilead by Marilyn Robinson and Abide with Me by Elizabeth Strout.

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  22. You are right, the opening is not a great hook, but the story promises more to come.
    Peggy @ The Pegster Reads

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    1. Peggy - So far it is living up to that promise.

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  23. I'd keep reading. Sometimes it helps to have a little more info than you get in an opening paragraph, especially if it doesn't reach right out and grab your interest. Thanks so much for dropping by, I appreciate it.

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    1. Kelley - I know some readers never read summaries or blurbs, but I need to know what kind of story I'm choosing.

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  24. I cheated and read some of your replies to your readers after you had gone a bit further into the book. Based on the opening, the answer is no. But based on your recommendation, yes. I do like a novel set in Ireland. Didn't we hear that word 'ghillie" on Downton Abbey? Maybe in the episode when the family went to Scotland? Sounds familiar...

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    1. Sunday - That's it!! I knew I'd heard the word before, but couldn't place it. The Downton Abbey gang must have used it while at the Scottish castle. I'm hoping to finish the book tonight or tomorrow.

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  25. I read this one after Patchett recommended it when I heard her speak. It's a strange little book but the writing is very good.

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    1. Melissa - I really like the writing, too. I'm wondering if she mentioned this book in one of her essays ... think that's where I first heard about it.

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