Friday, January 22

The Long Lost Opening

A few years ago I attended a writers' conference in New York and heard an opening to a novel that had only recently been accepted by a publisher. The publisher spoke to us about his excitement over winning the bid to publish this book. He read to us the opening paragraphs and we were all hooked. The only problem: he didn't tell us the name of the author or the title.

Since then I've often thought of those few paragraphs I heard, remembering the scene and how much I wanted to read what happens. After years of searching and reading book after book, I've finally found it!

Beth Revis's book "Across the Universe" begins just like the words spoken by the publisher who bid for this book. The publisher was practically jumping up and down from where he spoke. I remember wondering what kind of book was this that made this man so excited. Here are the opening lines that I heard spoken so long ago only to finally find the book. Now I wait for the second and third books in this trilogy journey to me from

Daddy said, "Let Mom go first."

Mom wanted me to go first. I think it was because she was afraid that after they were contained and frozen, I'd walk away, return to life rather than consign myself to that cold, clear box. But Daddy insisted.

"Amy needs to see what it's like. You go first, let her watch. Then she can go and I'll be with her. I'll go last."

"You go first," Mom said. "I'll go last."

But the long and short of it is that you have to be naked, and neither of them wanted me to see either of them naked (not like I wanted to see them in all their nude glory, gross), but given the choice, it'd be best for Mom to go first, since we had the same parts and all.

She looked so skinny after she undressed. Her collarbone stood out more; her skin had that rice-paper-thin, over-moisturized consistency old people's skin has. Her stomach--a part of her she always kept hidden under clothes--sagged in a wrinkly sort of way that made her look even more vulnerable and weak.

The men who worked in the lab seemed uninterested in my mother's nudity, just as they were impartial to my and my father's presence. They helped her lie down in the clear cryo box. It would have looked like a coffin, but coffins have pillows and look a lot more comfortable. This looked more like a shoebox.