Sunday, May 3, 2009

Opening Sentence of the Day: The Floating Opera

"To someone like myself, whose literary activities have been confined since 1920 mainly to such pedestrian genres as legal briefs (in connection with my position as partner in the firm of Andrews, Bishop, & Andrews) and Inquiry-writing (which I'll explain presently), the hardest thing about the task at hand -- vis., the explanation of a day in 1937 when I changed my mind -- is getting into it." -- The Floating Opera by John Barth. My goodness, what an overpacked suitcase of an opener! This looks like it is going to be quite a romp. Published in 1956, The Floating Opera was Barth's first novel and a finalist for the National Book Award. Barth is best known for The Sot Weed Factor and Giles Goat-Boy, both on my TBR shelf. But I am happy to start with this one as it is far shorter than either of the others and looks like it may be an accessible introduction to what is, for me, a new author. According to the back cover, The Floating Opera is "among many curious things":

the story of the day when Todd Andrews, hero and narrator, confirmed bachelor, convinced nihilist, practicing lawyer, rake, saint, cynic and potential suicide, decides not to commit suicide.

One reason I picked this up at Powell's the other day is because the shape of the book is super cool. It looks like the cover pictured above, but the corners on the right side are rounded. I've never seen a paperback like it.


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