Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Opening Sentence of the Day: The Marmot Drive

"One fog-lidded dawn in summertime a city girl, whose name was Hester, stood near the whipping post on the Tunxis village green with half a hundred strangers waiting to round up woodchucks."

The Marmot Drive by John Hersey

That may be my favorite opening sentence of the year. Woodchucks! You don't get to read a novel about woodchucks just every day.

I am on a mid-Century fiction jag, and this one definitely counts. It was published in 1953 and is about the conflicts that arise in a Connecticut village when the townsfolk gather to drive the "marmots" out of Thighbone Hollow.

I used some of my Reading Local contest money to buy this book from Hawthorne Boulevard Books, a little gem of a used book store in southeast Portland (and not to be confused with Hawthorne Books, our local literary publishing company).Thanks Reading Local!

Book Beginnings on Fridays is a Friday "opening sentence" event hosted by Becky at Page Turners.  


  1. That opening sentence makes it sound very promising.

  2. Bybee -- It lives up to its promise. It's a really interesting, well-written, and entertaining book for something no one reamembers.

  3. That may be my favorite book cover of the year! The year 1953, anyway...

  4. Michael -- It is a cover that denotes its time, isn't it? I can't decide if it looks like 1950s kitchen curtains, or 1950s gotohell golf pants.

  5. Oh my goodness, I don't even know what a woodchuck is!

  6. Becky -- Maybe they call them something else in Australia? A groundhog, maybe? It's a big rodent that has big front teeth like a beaver, but lives in tunnels in the ground.

    When you were a little kid, did you say, "How much wood would a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood?" It still makes me laugh.


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