Book Beginnings

There came Death hurtling along the Boulevard in waning sepia light.

There came Death flying as a children’s cartoon on a heavy unadorned messenger’s bicycle.

There came Death unerring. Death not to be persuaded. Death-in-a-hurry. Death furiously pedalling. Death carrying a package marked *SPECIAL DELIVERY HANDLE WITH CARE* in a sturdy wire basket behind his seat.

These are the opening lines of the Prologue, ‘Special Delivery’ in Joyce Carol Oates’s novel Blonde. The date is 3 August 1962 – the date of Marilyn Monroe’s death. It doesn’t give anything away – Marilyn’s death has been well documented even if it still remains under suspicion and speculation. Blonde tells the fictionalised story of Norma Jeane Baker, who became the beautiful ‘Fair Princess‘ of the movies.

The only difficulty I have in reading Blonde is the weight and size of the book – not ideal for reading in bed. And it has 738 pages – and I’m only on page 52.

Book Beginnings is hosted by Katy at A Few More Pages, where you can leave a link to your own post on the opening lines of a book you’re currently reading.

9 thoughts on “Book Beginnings

  1. Wow: Another light-hearted opener from Joyce Carol Oates. I often enjoy her work, but she just gets darker and darker over time, it seems. Marilyn seems to be an endlessly fascinating figure, so I wonder what Oates will make of her in fiction that hasn’t been made before…


  2. Given the subject that is a great opening! I enjoyed The Gravedigger’s Daughter by Oates and have a copy of The Falls yet to read. Thanks for the reminder to read more Oates and enjoy your story. My BB post is up.


  3. I think it’s quite a wordy start, which isn’t the easiest to read, but once I re-read it a few times I saw how it is actually really interesting and well written. I always enjoy the different ways which writers come up with of personifying death, so this sounds like it should be a compelling read!


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