Thursday, July 5, 2012

Book Beginnings: Paradise Postponed

Please join me every Friday to share the first sentence (or so) of the book you are reading, along with your initial thoughts about the sentence, impressions of the book, or anything else the opener inspires. Please remember to include the title of the book and the author's name.

Leave a link to your post. If you don't have a blog, but want to participate, please leave a comment with your Book Beginning.


"I had a disagreeable dream," the old man said.

-- Paradise Postponed by John Mortimer.  

That is a troublesome opening sentence for me because, as a rule, I dislike the recounting of dreams in fiction.  A personal dislike.  But it works here -- the full opening scene is very good.

I've gathered many of John Mortimer's books on my TBR shelf, including several of his Rumpole books,  but this is the first I've read. I am enjoying it and have the sequel, Titmuss Regained, to look forward to.


  1. Hi Gilion,

    What an intriguing opening line, from a book that I haven't come across before.

    I have to admit that I have never read any of the 'Rumpole' books either, although I always used to watch the hugely popular television series they made from them. It ran for several years and I still try to catch the re-runs when they are shown.

    If this book contains the same amount of satire and acerbic humour, then it should be a good read.

    Thanks for hosting and enjoy your weekend.


  2. The opening is intriguing although like you I am not fond of hearing about dreams in fiction. I haven't heard of this book but I have read a couple of the Rumpole books.

  3. I think it's a good opening line, it makes me curious.
    I'm not too fond of dreams in fiction either, but it's a lot better when they tell you about it early instead of disclosing it at the end. The "it was only a dream"-thing is the worst.

  4. I remember the Rumpole series on TV but have never read the books. Nice choice.

  5. I've had dreams like that! Now I'm curious....

  6. I don't mind dreams in fiction...but I can see why others might not. They're open to interpretation but can be really abstract or the meanings too hermetic (depending on the dreamer). And they're the easy way out of things sometimes.

  7. Is it the deus ex machina role that dreams play that bothers you? I can understand that!

  8. Yvonne: I've never even watched the tv show, although I am aware of it. SO now I have even more to look forward to.

    SQ: I started with this one because I prefer novels to short stories and all the Rumpole books I have are story collections. I will get to them eventually.

    Eva: Finding out the whole thing was a dream is intolerable for me. This was only a short scene, which I don't mind so much.

    JC: Thanks for stopping by! I think I can get the tv shows on Netflix, so will give them a try.

    L-R S: He goes on to recount his dream and it is pretty funny.

    Amber: It is the easy way out for the author thing I usually don't like about dream scenes. You can get away with improbable stuff to move the story forward.

    Julia: Yes! Like when the sleuth can solve the mystery because in his dream, he connected the dots between two seemingly disconnected clues. Although I also think dreams are very difficult to describe realistically, so dream scenes never really capture a dream accurately. They are better in movies.

  9. I know what you mean about dreams in books, and even in person. I have a hard time seeing a dream as real symbolism or even as a portent, though I find that Native American literature uses them well.

  10. I agree. I find dreams and re-telling of a dream extremely boring. I am glad it worked for you here, though.

  11. I have never read the Rumpole books either, although I have one on the TBR pile. Are you going to review this one?

  12. I'm back from vacation!

    I haven't read any Rumpole books yet either. And I've only seen portions of episodes...some sort of clip show (and I don't even remember why).

    Why are dreams recounted in fiction so often disagreeable (or disturbing) and rarely pleasant?

  13. You are in for a treat with Mortimer! I recommend the Second Rumpole Omnibus as a way to just plunge in.

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  15. Never heard of the author or the Rumpole books. It's a great opening line and will definitely get me going!

    I hope you have a wonderful weekend!

  16. I will try and join in next Friday. Such a nice idea!
    And I LOVE John Mortimer. Every word he wrote is so worth reading. There's a nice summer book you might enjoy called Summer's Lease. It is a bit of mystery, but also a family/relationship story. There is also a very good dvd version.


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