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First Lines Friday – 31st January 2020

First Lines Fridays is a weekly feature for book lovers hosted by Wandering Words. What if instead of judging a book by its cover, its author or its prestige, we judged it by its opening lines?

This week’s first lines are:

On our wedding day I was forty-six, she was eighteen. Now I know what you are thinking: older man (not thin, somewhat bald, lame in one leg, teeth of wood) exercises the marital prerogative, thereby mortifing the poor, young —

What do you think? Are these lines familiar to you? Would they entice you to read on?

Let’s see which book these first lines belong to:

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It’s the 2017 Booker Prize winner, Lincoln in the Bardo, by George Saunders!

Set during the American Civil War, President Lincoln is also dealing with a private grief: his young son, Willie, becomes gravely ill and dies. Using that historical truth as a foundation, the book relates a story of love after death that also uses elements of the supernatural. Willie Lincoln is transported to a kind of purgatory – a transitional state called the bardo in Tibetan tradition – where a tussle begins over his soul.

Have you read this book? Or would you like to?

What are the first lines that have stood out from your reading this week?

Thanks for reading!

AM x

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