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.